Hinged-Bed with Thumb Screw

American Optical Company, Scovill & Adams, Proprietors  1893-1897



This version of the second model with the hinged-bed now incorporates a thumb screw to secure the extension track's position.  This style followed the earlier disc lock, and most surviving Henry Clays are found with it. 

The example shown here is equipped with a Mathein (or Wale & Mathein) Shutter, which became standard issue for the Henry Clay by at least late 1893.  This is reflected in an ad engraving from Scovill & Adams' The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1894, copyrighted 1893:

Prior to this, an ad engraving in Scovill & Adams' How to Make Photographs, October, 1893, depicts the Henry Clay with Scovill's Instantaneous Lens and Shutter:


Although Scovill is carrying forward their generic wording with both advertisements stating "5x7 Henry Clay Camera complete, with Instantaneous Lens and Plain Shutter", the two shutters are of distinctly different designs, each covered by its own patent:


Scovill's Instantaneous Lens and Shutter


 Scovill's Instantaneous Lens and Shutter          Source:  Google Patents

Mathein (or Wale & Mathein) Shutter


          Wale & Mathein Shutter                  Source: Google Patents

          Wale & Mathein Shutter                  Source: Google Patents  

The date range cited for this Henry Clay Camera is 1893-1897, as by 1897 or 1898, the last version of the Henry Clay is introduced with a slightly more compact body.  The dimensions of the camera shown here are 8-3/8" in height, 6-1/4" depth and 9-5/8" width, whereas the last model's dimensions are stated in advertisements as being 7-1/2" in height, 5-1/2" in depth and 9" in width. These last dimensions appear to follow through to the end of the Henry Clay's production in 1899.


All models of the Henry Clay are considered rare today, and they are seldom encountered.