Blair Camera Company, Boston, Massachusetts for

The European Blair Camera Company, Ltd., London             1894-1896?



                                           Photo courtesy of Gerjo Quicken


This shutter is believed to be Blair's Two-Way Shutter, introduced in 1894 along with Blair's Folding Kamaret.  The shutter, seen here on this Folding Kamaret 7x5 example, was also depicted in an engraving for Blair's U.K. version of the Folding Hawk-Eye:



    Engraving from The Photogram, 1894, of Blair's Folding Hawk-Eye with a Blair Two-Way Shutter (believed)


Blair's Two-Way Shutter and the Folding Kamaret were both announced in The Photogram, Volume 1, No. 1 for 1894, under their "Trade" section outlining the introduction of new products as seen in the excerpt below:



                                                        Excerpt from The Photogram, 1894


Constructed from aluminum, the shutter is equipped with Gundlach's Rapid Rectigraphic Lens, indicated by the December 9, 1890 date found on the lens' outer rim.  This date refers to Patent No. 442,251 granted to Ernst Gundlach of Rochester, New York for the lens' rapid rectilinear design, which corrected for and reduced spherical and chromatic aberration to an imperceptible minimum:



                               Source:  Google Patents


The premise for the shutter's two-way tensioning design was patented on October 13, 1891 by Thomas H. Blair of Boston, Massachusetts and John H. Crowell of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, under Patent No. 461,307 which was assigned to the Blair Camera Company:



                    Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office



                      Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


Like those shutters found on Blair's Hawk-Eye (detective style) and Folding Hawk-Eye Cameras, this shutter's tension spring is moved in one direction, being placed in one of three notches that correspond to increasingly faster speeds as the tension increases.  After the shutter is released and the blade has travelled in one direction, the tension spring is now moved in the opposite direction being set for the next exposure. Released again, the blade now travels back in the opposite direction. The shutter has a rotary aperture with five settings, adjusted from an opening located on the shutter casing's rear:


                                          Photo courtesy of Gerjo Quicken


This is the only example of Blair's Two-Way Shutter that I have ever seen, and so far, no catalogue references showing either the Folding Kamaret or Blair's Two-Way Shutter have been found. It appears to have been offered on U.K. - marketed cameras only, which accounts in part for why I've never seen an example here in the United States.  As shutters go, Blair's Two-Way Shutter can be considered as rare, as the equally rare Folding Kamaret 7x5 it is found on here.


My Sincere Thanks and Appreciation to Gerjo Quicken, for sharing this camera and shutter from his collection, for allowing us to feature it here, and for his perspective on Blair's Two-Way Shutter and its operation.


       Folding Kamaret 7x5 with Blair's Two-Way Shutter (believed)          Photo courtesy of Gerjo Quicken



                                Photo courtesy of Gerjo Quicken