E.I. Horsman, 80 and 82 William Street, New York            1890 - late 1890's


Horsman's "Eclipse" line of cameras was introduced in 1887 and four models are known to have been made.  Aimed at the amateur and the beginner, the cameras were simple in construction and economically priced. Their cameras were marketed as part of an outfit "that contains all that is needed to Make and Complete a Photograph", per Horsman's advertisements.


The first apparent model was a box-style camera, seen in advertisements as early as 1887 in Harper's Young People for June 28, 1887. An ad with the same engraving appears in Scovill's The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1888:



     Ad from Scovill's The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1888


This box model appears to have been undesignated, but has been referred to as the "Eclipse No. 1" or the "No. 1 Horsman Eclipse" by some collectors. Advertisements indicate that the camera was covered in "Imitation Morocco". Being the first camera in the series, and with only three or four examples having been seen, it's probably the rarest of all Horsman "Eclipses".

Horsman's three other models were equipped with bellows, being the No. 2 Eclipse in 3-1/4 x 4-1/4, the No. 3 Eclipse in 4-1/4 x 6-1/2 and the No. 33 Eclipse, also in 4-1/4 x 6-1/2.


Introduced by 1890, the No. 33 Eclipse was the most advanced of the models, having a unique rotating lens board that permitted the lens to shift horizontally or vertically off-center, depending on the lens board's position:

As seen in the photos below, the lens board on this example is capable of being rotated 90-degrees to full vertical:


The camera is equipped with an unmarked, simple meniscus lens having a disc stop retained by a spring wire:




The rotating lens board design was patented by Henry W. Hales of Ridgewood, New Jersey on March 18, 1890, Patent No. 423,682.  Hales, who is also known for the Hales Focal Plane Camera, held at least nine photographic and optical patents that were issued between 1890 and 1922, of which only Patent No. 423,682 was assigned to Edward I. Horsman of New York:


                   Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


                    Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


The No. 33 "Eclipse" shown here was accompanied by its original field case, tripod head plate, tripod screw and Horsman's Instantaneous Drop Shutter. Horsman's well known "Eclipse" trade-mark can be seen on the interior of the field case lid and on the camera's front at the top.


A nice touch to the field case is the 1880's advertisement, taped to the inside.  This engraving of a woman with a field camera promoting Scovill's amateur photographic equipment, graced the interior pages of Scovill's How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List for 1886. The engraving also appears on the back cover of this recurring publication from 1888 through at least April, 1891 but disappears in its entirety by January, 1892. The Scovill Manufacturing Company name is seen at the ad's bottom, which appears to be dated 1882 and states that Scovill was founded in 1802.



Horsman's Instantaneous Drop Shutter can be seen in a close-up from an ad appearing in Scovill's The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1890 depicting Horsman's No. 33 "Eclipse" Outfit:



From Scovill's The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1890



Other than their field cases and plate holders, when seen today, most Horsman "Eclipse" cameras are rarely accompanied by any of the accessories or materials that were contained in their outfits. Some models of the "Eclipse" camera would be offered into the late 1890's, but disappear by the turn of the century.


The No. 33 "Eclipse" is considered the rarest of the three bellows-equipped models with at least four known to exist.





                From The Amateur Photographer's Hand Book, 1890