STEREOSCOPIC CAMERA MODEL XVII
Conley Camera Company, Spring Valley, Minnesota, later Rochester, Minnesota beginning in 1904 1903-1912
Conley's Stereoscopic Camera Model XVII, also referred to by collectors and in advertisements as the Conley Stereo Box, was introduced in 1903 just as the Sears, Roebuck & Company engaged the company to manufacture cameras for them. Conley's cameras and other photographic apparatus would be marketed through Sears, the two companies enjoying a relationship that lasted for almost four decades.
This 6-1/4 x 6-1/2 stereo box camera is equipped with a single brilliant view finder and a Time and Instantaneous shutter with its selector on the front and the shutter release on the lower right edge. Covered in long grain leather, the camera is simple in design and construction. Conley cameras were well-built, and their quality is reflected in the condition of this Stereo Box. More than a century later, it looks almost as good as the day it left the factory.
According to Photographs to Phonographs, The Conley Story by David N. Stirling, Mabel, Minnesota, in 1909, the Conley brothers (Frederick and Kerry) sold 47% of their business interest to Sears, Roebuck & Company in order to raise capital for a new building. In 1927, the Conley Camera Company would discontinue camera production, subsequently becoming involved in the manufacture of phonographs until being sold by Sears, Roebuck in 1940.
The Stereoscopic Camera Model XVII was still being offered as late as 1912, in Sears, Roebuck's Cameras Photographic Supplies catalog for that year. Although most collectors would hesitate to call the camera "rare", the camera is extremely scarce, with relatively few examples having been seen.
Here are two links for some of the best history and information that you'll find for the Conley Camera Company and their products:
Photographs to Phonographs, The Conley Story by David N. Stirling, Mabel, Minnesota
Conley, A History and Identification Guide