AMATEUR EQUIPMENT NO. 1
E. & H.T. Anthony & Company, 591 Broadway, New York 1886-1887
Anthony's Amateur Equipment No. 1 4x5 camera with a varnished finish and a non-folding bed. This is the later version of this model, the earlier 1882 version having an ebonized finish.
Aimed at the amateur or beginner, the smallest versions were very basic in construction with other models and larger formats adding more features such folding beds, rising and falling lens boards and tilt and stereoscopic capabilities. The camera's frame sections are square vs. a rectangular shape found on other Amateur Equipment No. 1's. This version of the camera is equipped with three pivoting latches, one at top to secure the focusing screen and two to secure the plate holder. Missing is the focusing screen's 5x5 ground glass and the lens which would have been a nickel-plated Anthony "EA" single achromatic. The lens opening has been enlarged, indicating that a lens greater than the normal 4x5 was used at some point.
A single patent date is found stamped on the platform section, whereas other Amateur Equipments have been found with either two or three patents. The patent date, February 20, 1883, references Patent No. 272,622 granted to Erastus B. Barker of New York. Assigned to E. & H.T. Anthony & Company, the patent covered the design of their Novel/Novelette series of cameras. The patent's clip design for retaining the plate holder on the Novel/Novelette, is also incorporated into the Amateur Equipments. The E. & H.T. Anthony & Company name is stamped into the bed's rear section and a wing-style knob to secure the camera for tripod use can be found stored within the camera's base.
This example may be somewhat of a transitional model. The retaining latch for the focusing screen is an earlier style (flat brass strip that pivots on a screw), but the focusing screen hinge is later, and typically featured with an L-shaped latch. With the later latch style continuing for 1888, this probably dates the example shown here to 1886/1887 based on catalogue engravings.
From Anthony's Illustrated Catalogue, January, 1888, showing a No. 1 Amateur Equipment with a hinged focusing screen and an L-shaped latch
Of Anthony's earlier cameras, the Amateur Equipments are among the hardest to find. Considering all the formats and various models of the camera, not many have survived. Other than this example, at least four other 4x5's are known to reside in private collections, as well as a few in larger formats.