THE NO. A KORONA
The Milburn Korona Company, Rochester, New York 1894-1896
The No. A Korona, among the first in a long line of cycle cameras to carry the Korona name, was manufactured by the Milburn Korona Company of Rochester, New York.
Founded by Gustave D. Milburn in 1894, the company was sold to the Gundlach Optical Company in 1896. An excerpt in Wilson's Photographic Magazine, Volume 34, 1897, stated that Gundlach Optical had taken over the camera stock of the defunct Milburn Korona Company and was clearing out their well known Korona Cycle and C. Korona Cameras at bargain prices. Another excerpt from The Photo Beacon, Volume IX, March, 1897, states that Gundlach Optical has bought out the enormous stock of cameras belonging to the Milburn Korona Company, under the heading "Bankrupt Sale of Cameras".
Reference has been made to the Milburn Camera Company, founded by Gustave Milburn in 1894. But by July, 1894, the company's name was changed to the Milburn Korona Company. Most examples of the Korona Camera I've encountered, in addition to this No. A Korona, have an ivoroid tag with "Milburn Korona Company, Rochester, N.Y." Based on the foregoing and an 1894 Koronas factory catalog, the Korona No.'s A, B and C were the first cameras produced under the Milburn Camera/Milburn Korona company names. Production apparently continued until the company was sold to Gundlach.
Following Gundlach's acquisition, the Korona line of self-casing cameras would expand into various models over the next three decades. It's these Korona models that are frequently encountered by collectors today. Some major differences between the Milburn and Gundlach-built cameras include the style of the lens standard's tensioning knobs and top brace, the bed rail, the viewfinder mount, the predominant use of lacquered brass hardware versus nickel-plated brass and the aluminum-faced Gundlach's Shutter and Iris Diaphragm with the Milburn Korona Company nametag.
Made for Milburn by Gundlach, this same aluminum-faced shutter could also be found on other models of the Korona Camera, some Eastman Kodet models and the Sunart Cycle. This No. A Korona model appears to have a capital "A" stamped into the back.
This example is in poor-to-fair condition, showing considerable wear and missing its reversible viewfinder. However, as mid-1890's self-casing cameras go, you will be hard-pressed to find another example. This is the only No. A Korona that I've ever seen, and along with the No.'s B and C Koronas, it can be considered rare.
From Milburn's 1894 Koronas catalogue (courtesy of Pacific Rim Camera)