TIME AND INSTANTANEOUS SHUTTER - MODEL OF 1892

    Bausch & Lomb Optical Company, Rochester, New York         1892-1893?

 

 

Pending more information, I've designated this shutter the "Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892", based upon its believed year of introduction. Its uniquely identifying feature is the number of levers employed and their arrangement.  The lever at top behind the speed dial cocked the shutter, the lever at right selected either time or instantaneous exposures and the lever at left above the pneumatic release valve is the manual release.  The dial at top is marked "0", "1", "2" and "3", for the shutter's four speed settings:

 

    

      

 

 

Dr. Rudolf Kingslake indicated the shutter was made about 1892, referring to it as the "Vici", taken from the name seen on its aperture scale. The speed dial, as seen in Kingslake's photo below, is marked "Sunart Photo Co."  Kingslake was hired as the Chief Lens Designer for Eastman Kodak in 1937.  After 32 years, many of which were spent leading Eastman's Optical Department, he retired in 1969.  Later working with the George Eastman House as it was then known, he helped in cataloging part of their Technology Collection.  In an article titled "The Bausch & Lomb Shutters", written for the Western Photographic Collector's Association's journal, The Photographist, Summer, 1981, Dr. Kingslake outlines Bausch & Lomb's earliest shutters, profiled from a collection of early shutters given to the George Eastman House by Bausch & Lomb. Highlighted were many that reached production, along with this "Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892", and several prototypes that were never marketed.

 

     Bausch & Lomb's Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892        Source: The Photographist, Summer, 1981

 

The Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892 featured here has the "Sunart" name on the shutter's aperture scale, along with "Bausch & Lomb Optical Co." just below the lens.  In practice, shutters by Bausch & Lomb and other makers were often tagged with either the shutter's name, the camera's name or the camera manufacturer's name.  In the case of this example found on a Sunart Vici 5x7, Bausch & Lomb applied the company's name to the aperture scale.  Other than its shutter speed designations, the speed dial is unmarked:

 

 

                                                            Sunart Vici 5x7 camera with the Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892

 

 

The Vici was one of three models (Veni, Vidi, Vici) manufactured by the Sunart Photo Company in the 1890's. The shutter's reported 1892 introduction is reinforced by the Sunart Vici's 1893 introduction, suggesting the camera and shutter to be period-correct. The Sunart Vici 5x7 shown here, having an overall heavier construction with tubular guide rails, places its manufacture in the earliest years of the company established in 1893. Later Sunart models would be lighter and less elaborate, trending toward the cycle-style cameras that emerged in the mid-to-late 1890's. The Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892's general construction is also indicative of the early to mid-1890's period, when other makers such as Gundlach were also beginning to utilize levers on their shutters.

 

Little else is known about the Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892. But looking back on the history of Bausch & Lomb's shutters, that both preceded and succeeded this model, it's doubtful they would have built the shutter solely for Sunart.  Possibly, Sunart was the first and only company whose cameras were ever equipped with them, before the shutter's design was quickly abandoned. 

 

With no other references or advertisements found, and this being the only example I've encountered, I'm guessing production lasted for maybe a year or so.  Not as glitzy a shutter as Bausch & Lomb's earlier Diaphragm models, but very rare nonetheless.