Blair Camera Company, Boston, Massachusetts                           1894-1898





Introduced in 1892 alongside the 5x7 Folding Hawk-Eye, No.1, Blair's Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2 appears in Blair's Illustrated Catalogue of Blair's Hand Cameras and Films  for July 1893. 

By 1894, the camera was listed as the "5x7 Folding Hawk-Eye, No.2" in E. & H.T. Anthony's Illustrated Catalogue of Photographic Equipments and Materials for Amateurs, September,1894. I've designated this camera as the "5x7 Folding Hawk-Eye, No. 2, Model of 1894", to distinguish the design change to an abbreviated lens board frame from the first Model of 1892's taller frame.

This is where some confusion comes into play, as both Blair and Anthony were marketing the Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2 during the 1894-1896 timeframe.  This camera matches the new engraving used in Anthony's catalogues:



Ad from Anthony's Illustrated Catalogue of Photographic Equipments and Materials for Amateurs February, 1898


This new engraving was never shown in any of the Blair catalogues I've located for 1894-1896.  Furthermore, Anthony billed the camera as having a double sliding front.  In reality, the lens board only slides side-to-side on this example, and it has no rise or fall.

This begs the question as to why this single sliding version was not offered by Blair, but offered by Anthony and marketed with a feature it didn't possess.  Perhaps this version was specially made for Anthony.  But if so, how could the "double sliding front" advertising error continue for five years and why would Anthony opt to market a camera with one less movement?  In 1895, Blair offered their No. 2 for $55, with Anthony offering this new version of the No. 2 with one less movement for $60.



      Model of 1892 with high lens board frame                         Model of 1894 with short lens board frame


In the comparison above, the camera at left (missing its viewfinder) has an elevated lens board frame with a knurled tensioning knob to set the board's rise and fall.  The lens board at right with a shorter frame, moves side-to-side, but has no tensioning knob or vertical travel capability.   The Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2 Model of 1894 would continue to be offered in Anthony catalogues through 1898, but it never made an appearance in Blair's catalogues to my knowledge.

Inside the camera's top door can be found patent dates of March 29, 1887 and May 20, 1890.  The latter date refers to  Patent No. 428,448 granted to Thomas H. Blair for the earlier Hawk-Eye Camera (box detective style), design elements of which are found in the Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2.




Despite the fact that the Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2. Model of 1894 was marketed for five years, I haven't seen any other examples.  While I suspect others exist, it's fair to say it's a rather rare version.  I would be interested to hear from anyone with one in their collection, or with more information.