THE FOLDING HAWK-EYE, 5X7, NO. 2 MODEL OF 1892
Blair Camera Company, Boston, Massachusetts 1892-1894
Introduced in 1892 alongside the 5x7 Folding Hawk-Eye, No.1, the Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2 appears in the Illustrated Catalogue of Blair's Hand Cameras and Films for July 1893. Like the 5x7 Folding Hawk-Eye, No. 1, it was capable of holding three of Blair's Feather-Weight Holders or using a 50-exposure roll holder. I've designated this camera as the Model of 1892, to distinguish it from the later Model of 1894 with a revised lens board frame design. The Model of 1892 was probably being manufactured into mid-1894, but by September, 1894, E. & H.T. Anthony & Company began marketing it in their Illustrated Catalogue of Photographic Equipments and Materials for Amateurs with an abbreviated lens board frame.
This Model of 1892 version is identical to engravings that appear in Blair's catalogues through at least 1896. But by 1898, the Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2 is no longer listed.
The No. 2 was equipped with a double sliding front, as specified in Blair's catalogues. As such, the lens board was capable of moving side-to-side or up and down. Inside the camera's top door can be found patent dates of March 29, 1887 and May 20, 1890.
The Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2 is usually seen with a French-polished ebony finished bed, the finish being a hallmark of the Folding Hawk-Eye series. However, some examples have been seen with leather-covered beds. These leather-bed versions sometime exhibit body coverings in brown leather, versus the black typically seen. In some cases, these leather-covered beds feature a shorter center track. The reasoning behind this abbreviated track is unknown to me and the leather-covered bed doesn't appear as an option in any of the Blair literature I've seen.
Leather-covered bed Ebony finished bed
Abbreviated center track on leather bed Standard center track on ebony finished bed
Among Blair's Folding Hawk-Eye series, the No. 2 Model of 1892 with an ebony finished bed is the most common version encountered, followed by the leather-covered bed. As it is with many of Blair's cameras from the 1890's, the No. 2 Model of 1892 can be considered very scarce as examples come to market very infrequently.