THE GLOBE SERIES A
Manhattan Optical Company, Cresskill, New Jersey for
Jas. H. Smith & Company, Chicago, Illinois 1896-1897
The Globe Series A was actually Manhattan Optical Company's Bo-Peep A, marketed by Jas. H. Smith & Company of Chicago, Illinois. It was the second camera in Manhattan Optical's line-up to carry the Bo-Peep name, following its predecessor, the original model known simply as the "Bo-Peep".
Believed introduced in 1896 and referred to in Manhattan Optical's advertisements as the "Improved Bo-Peep, this model is easily identifiable by its beautiful and uniquely-styled shutter, which is inset within a non-removable lens board. Capable of time and instantaneous exposures with a double lens and a rotating aperture, the shutter is believed to have been manufactured by Manhattan Optical Company. Subsequent models of the Bo-Peep would feature externally-mounted shutters manufactured by either Manhattan Optical or the Gundlach Optical Company.
Marketed by several photographic supply houses, this same camera can also be seen in the A. S. Aloe Company of St. Louis, Missouri's Catalogue of Photographic Sundries, also believed to be from 1897. Aloe carried six of Manhattan Optical's self-casing cameras that year, selling them under the "Folding Globe" and "Globe" names. The camera also appears as the Garden City A in Montgomery Ward's Catalogue "G" 1897, Photographic Apparatus and Materials. In its normal guise, the Bo Peep A is seen in Otto Young & Company's 1898 Illustrated Catalogue of Cameras and Graphophones. By 1898, production on the Bo-Peep A had no doubt ceased since it doesn't appear in Manhattan Optical's catalogue for that year. By 1899, the Jas. H. Smith & Company no longer carried Manhattan Optical's cameras in their catalogues.
In 1897, Manhattan Optical Company's assets were sold to cover liabilities, the new owners establishing a New York office while still under the Manhattan Optical name. From this point forward, maker's tags found on Manhattan Optical products would cite both Cresskill, New Jersey and New York. Gundlach Optical Company acquired the firm in 1902, changing the name to Gundlach-Manhattan Optical Company.
This example is marked "Globe Series A" on an ivoroid tag on the side door's interior. The front lens standard is stamped "Pat. Appd For" and the rear door is stamped "Manhattan Optical Co., Cresskill, N.J." It's unknown as to what the patent application covered, or whether a patent was ever granted.
Few examples of the Globe Series A / Folding Globe Series A / Bo-Peep A are known to exist, and they are among the most difficult of Manhattan Optical's cameras to acquire.
Front cover of Manhattan Optical's Catalogue, undated but believed to be 1898, as it features the introduction of the Wee Wizard