E. & H.T. Anthony & Company, 591 Broadway, New York              1870's-1880's


Anthony's No. 41 Bon Ton Box 5x7 with a four-tube bon ton lens set.


Multi-lens ferrotype cameras were in use by the mid-1860's and would continue to be offered into the first decade of the 20th century.  This E. & H.T. Anthony example with a 591 Broadway, New York address, dates it to no earlier than 1869.  Anthony moved to this address from 501 Broadway in 1869, and would remain there into 1899.

The No. 41 Bon Ton Box could be used with a single lens to produce one 5x7 image, or with a four-tube bon ton lens set for producing four images on a single plate. Solidly constructed, the camera features a simple hinged focusing screen, a non-folding bed and a 5x7 vertical format that was non-reversible.  Having no sliding back and devoid of any swing or tilt capabilities, the No. 41 Bon Ton Box was smaller in size than Anthony's Climax Cincinnati Gem, Cincinnati and New Victoria Box cameras.

Several advertisements for the No. 41 Bon Ton Box have been found, such as the one shown below from W.D. Gatchel's 1888 Illustrated Catalogue.  It's interesting to note that essentially the same engraving and wording is found in A.B. Paine & Co.'s Illustrated Catalogue & Price List, No. 4, 1889, sans the "Anthony" name previously found on the edge of the plate holder, different pricing and with the name "Scovill's Bon-Ton Box No. 155a."


Despite having a non-folding bed, the No. 41 Bon Ton Box is relatively compact measuring 11-7/8 " in height, 7-1/2" wide and 14-13/16" from front to back. The example shown here, equipped with a manually actuated flap shutter, is complete with its wood septum and all of its hardware.  The shutter's flaps are joined with pinion gears to facilitate synchronized opening and closing through a single lever.  Manual flap shutters on multi-lens cameras were typically in use prior to the early to mid-1880's, when pneumatically released shutters were introduced. The assembly number "23" is found stamped on seven different body parts. The oval-shaped nickel-plated manufacturer's badge, versus Anthony's other well known rectangular-shaped badge, is associated with many of their early-to-mid 1880's cameras. 

These features, together with the presence of some collodion stains suggests this outfit was probably in use in the late 1870's to the early 1880's as photography transitioned from the wet plate to the dry plate process.


                                     From W.D. Gatchel's Illustrated Catalogue, 1888


                             From W.D. Gatchel's Illustrated Catalogue, 1888


Like other multi-lens cameras of the period by Scovill, American Optical and other makers, few examples of Anthony's No. 41 Bon Ton Box are seen today.