THE COLUMBIAN TRIPLEX SHUTTER
Prosch Manufacturing Company, New York 1894-1898
Introduced by late 1894, Prosch's Columbian Triplex had all the attributes of their famous Triplex Shutter, with the added advantage of an automatic safety shield. The shield prevented an exposure as the shutter was being set, and the same movement that set the shutter, also threw the shield into position.
Prior to this, Prosch's shutters had to be capped to prevent an exposure as the shutter was being set. Use of a cap was somewhat less critical with a plate camera, so long as the plate holder's dark slide was still in place. But with a roll film camera having no barrier behind the shutter, the film was always at risk. As cameras advanced and became easier to operate, having to use a lens cap in this manner was inefficient and cumbersome.
Presumably, the Columbian Triplex was named in recognition of (or to capitalize on) the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago World's Fair, May-October,1893) that was held just the year before. As with Prosch's Triplex, Athlete, and Nouveau shutters, the Columbian Triplex was also available in aluminum as well as in standard brass construction.
An advertisement for Prosch's Columbian Triplex can be found as late as 1898, in Scovill & Adams' How to Make Photographs. Despite being available for at least four years, few examples have surfaced in the past three decades.
From Scovill & Adams' The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1895
Cover of Scovill & Adams' The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1895