Gundlach Optical Company, Rochester, New York            1897 - 1898?




Its real name is still a mystery, so I've called it the "Sunburst" based on the sun ray-like design on the speed dial.


The production years are based on the shutter's appearance on a number of Folding Cyclones, Bicycle Folding Cyclones and the Long Focus Cyclone from Western Camera Mfg. Company's circa 1898 catalogue.  I'm guessing the camera shown below to be a Western Camera Manufacturing Company Long Focus Cyclone, as the only cameras I've ever seen equipped with this "Sunburst" shutter were those sold by Western Camera Mfg. Company. The Gundlach Optical name on the shutter indicates it preceded the company's 1902 acquisition of the Manhattan Optical Company, now becoming the Gundlach-Manhattan Optical Company:




                                                   Long Focus Cyclone Camera 4x5, with Gundlach's "Starburst" Shutter


The "Sunburst" is referred to in Western's circa 1898 catalogue descriptions as a "new improved shutter".  It's neither offered as a separate item in this catalogue, nor is it seen in Gundlach's catalogues beyond 1898 or any of the supplier catalogues I've had access to. I've been unable to locate any Gundlach catalogues from the mid-1890's, or any other trade publications with an advertisement for this shutter.

As has been seen with some other manufacturers, not all of their shutters were made available in catalogues as a stand-alone item, only being available as installed on a camera. 


Having all the earmarks of Gundlach's cameras indicates the Folding Cyclone-line was made by Gundlach Optical for the Western Camera Mfg. Company. And so it follows they'd be equipped with Gundlach's shutters. The believed Long Focus Cyclone Camera shown here appears nearly identical to Gundlach's Korona Long-Focus Camera. There is the possibility that the shutter was made exclusively for Western's Folding Cyclones, and that you'll never see them on any other maker's products. But given that Gundlach built cameras for a number of other companies (such as Western in this instance), designing and producing an all new shutter for just one company would have been a major undertaking.  It would have made no financial sense if this newly designed shutter couldn't have been used on Gundlach's own cameras, the cameras they were making for other companies (such as Western), or the cameras Gundlach was selling to photographic suppliers or retailers such as Montgomery Ward & Company ("Garden City" Series) and the A.S. Aloe Company ("Globe" Series) that placed their own private labels on them.  As has been speculated with one of Bausch & Lomb's earlier shutters that appeared exclusive to the Sunart Vici Camera, maybe the "Sunburst's" existence was so brief that only one maker's cameras had the opportunity to be equipped with them.  


On this "Sunburst" example, the shutter's speeds range from 1/100 - 1 second, with the name "Gundlach Opt. Co., Rochester, N.Y." stamped at top above the speed dial.  The aperture scale is marked "4x5 W.A." (for wide angle) and both the front and rear lenses are marked "Gundlach Optical Co. 4x5 Sym" (for symmetrical).


Along with the original Gundlach Shutter - Time & Instantaneous of the early 1890's, the "Sunburst" is one of their least encountered shutters.  With the three or four that I've seen on Ebay over the past 15 years, and no other physical examples found on the Internet, this shutter is extremely scarce or borderline rare.