COMBINATION CAMERA VARIATION 2 STEREO
The Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Company, Boston, Massachusetts 1881-1882
5x8 model with a 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 extension back
Combination Camera Variation 2 by the Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Company, Boston, Massachusetts, configured for stereo work. The Combination name derived from the camera's ability to be used in multiple formats with an extension back, as well as to produce stereo images. Variation 2 of the camera was made in 4x5 (with 5x8 extension) or 5x8 (with 6-1/2x8-1/2 or 8x10 extensions). With a Blair Tourograph Co., Boston" stamping on the center bed member and a nickel-plated Blair Tourograph and Dry Plate Company name tag, the camera was likely made in 1881-1882 as the company transitioned to the new name. The extension back is also stamped "Blair Tourograph Co., Boston" along with "Pat. May 2, 82." and "Sam C. Partridge, Agent, San Francisco". The patent date references Patent No. 257,206 issued to Thomas H. Blair of Franklin, Massachusetts for the design of the extension back. This patent was assigned to the Blair Tourograph and Dry Plate Company, Boston, Massachusetts. Sam C. Partridge was a San Francisco dealer in photographic and magic lantern goods during the 1880's and early 1890's.
The Combination Camera in all its variations was produced under the Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Company name from 1881 until 1886, then under the Blair Camera Company name till at least 1895.
This 5x8 example is set up for stereo work, having two nickel-plated Anthony "EA" lenses and its original septum. Also shown is a stereo flap shutter unmarked as to maker.
Below is a cabinet card by Helperson, Lake Mills, Iowa, showing a photographer (possibly Helperson himself) with a Blair Tourograph Combination Stereo Camera with its extension back in place, its tripod, plate holder, travel cases and what appears to be the camera's 5x8 standard back:
Cabinet card by Helperson, Lake Mills, Iowa 1880's
Close-up of the Combination Stereo Camera
Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Company cameras and apparatus can be considered very scarce, with equipment from the earlier Blair Tourograph Company being extremely rare.
The following pages 2-9 depicting the Combination Camera are from an undated Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Company catalogue. However, the date is estimated to be 1883, since it carries the new Blair Tourograph & Dry Plate Company name and features the Blair Knockdown Camera which appeared only briefly in early 1883: