American Optical Company, Scovill & Adams, Proprietors    1891-1892



Another example of a Henry Clay sliding-bed model in 5x7, equipped with a Gundlach Optical Company Rapid Rectigraphic 5x8 lens and a Pneumo Shutter that attaches to the front of the lens shade.


The lens, accompanied by a set of Waterhouse stops is marked "Gundlach Optical Company, Rochester, N.Y., Rapid Rectigraphic, 5x8". The Pneumo Shutter, designed by Louis Prosch, Jr. of Brooklyn, New York, Patent No. 447,902 dated March 10, 1891, was also sold under the Marvel name. Some surviving examples of this shutter have been found unmarked with either name. Although marketed by C.E. Hopkins, a photographic supplier, it's undetermined whether the shutter was manufactured by Hopkins, by Louis Prosch, Jr., or by someone else entirely.



             The Pneumo Shutter Patent                    Source:  Google Patents


This 4" diameter shutter with a 1-7/8" barrel shade diameter mount, is stamped "Pneumo" along with "Pat.Mar.10"91" and a serial number of 749.  Although in contrast to many Henry Clays that were factory-equipped with Wale & Mathein Shutters, and not known to be offered by Scovil & Adams with this lens/shutter combination, the Gundlach Rapid Rectigraphic and Pneumo Shutter were period correct and could have been installed originally.   Aside from the Wale & Mathein, a good number of Henry Clays that survive are also seen with Prosch Triplex Shutters.

As seen in the photos, the blocks that attach the camera's bed to the track rails and the ground glass for focusing are missing.  The six plate holders accompanying this camera are all stamped "Scovill and Adams Co. N.Y."   No serial number was found on the camera, other than a #6 (probably an assembly number) stamped on the interior of the side access door. Some, but not all Henry Clays are found with serial numbers, either located on the bed or in area of the bed's hinge on later versions. None of the Henry Clay sliding-bed models I'm aware of contain serial numbers.

Despite the missing parts, this example is in relatively good condition given that most Henry Clays are found with flaking or missing leather, missing doors, broken or missing handles and in some cases no viewfinders.        


For more information on the Henry Clay sliding-bed model, see the other Henry Clay sliding-bed camera featured in the "Antique Cameras" section of this website. 






     Ad from Scovill's American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1891