Manufacturer Unknown                           1860's - early 1880's


This is a manually operated flap shutter for a four-tube cdv or bon-ton lens set:

In use, the shutter would be attached to the front of the four-tube set's mounting plate, with the tubes protruding rearward into the camera:



The shutter was operated by rotating the knob at the shutter's side, opening the flaps to make the exposure, then depressing a button to close the flaps.  The shutter's overall approximate dimensions are 8-7/8" x 8-7/8", with a 6-3/4" x 7-11/16" shadow box.

Precisely dating shutters such as these is difficult, given there is no maker's name and that four-tube assemblies were in use (or marketed) between the 1860's through 1910.  In 1908, Ralph J. Golsen was selling ferrotype outfits, as was G. Gennert with their Prize Victoria Camera with a four-tube lens set and a Bon-Ton shutter.  George Murphy was still selling their "Eagle Ferrotype Gem Lenses" in 1910.  However, by 1908, shutters such as Low's Bon-Ton Shutter were available.  The Low Bon-Ton, constructed of metal, was much lighter and pneumatically operated.  A pneumatic Bon-Ton Shutter is also offered in W.D. Gatchel's 1888 catalogue, suggesting that the manually-released flap shutter shown here most likely pre-dates the use of pneumatic shutters which came into use around 1882:



                                      From W.D. Gatchel's 1888 catalogue


Early photographers making an exposure using a multi-lens arrangement were relegated to using single or multiple flap shutters, a pull-rod shutter like those seen on Simon Wing's cameras, a Low-style shutter or a simple wooden or metal box to expose or cover all camera's objectives simultaneously.

While four-tube lens sets are seen very infrequently, flap shutters such as these are almost never seen.




From G. Gennert's 1908 Catalogue of Photographic Apparatus and Supplies