ALUMINUM TRIPLEX SHUTTER
Prosch Manufacturing Company, New York 1894-1899
With few exceptions, Prosch Manufacturing Company shutters are characterized by their beautiful lacquered finishes, draw-filed pattern work and scarified etching. Their fanciful mechanisms are like no others and not much is hidden from view. The phrase "where art meets engineering" really applies to Prosch: they are to shutters what Duesenberg is to the automobile. Prosch shutters are in demand by collectors, simply for their scarcity and their outright beauty.
By 1894, Prosch was offering to construct their Triplex shutter in Aluminum in an effort to reduce weight. Aluminum versions of the Triplex and Columbian Triplex are known to exist, and conceivably, Aluminum Triplex Stereoscopics could have been ordered. These Aluminum versions were in contrast to the standard all-brass shutters for which Prosch is best known today:
Aluminum versions were more expensive, and in the case of the Improved Triplex of 1899, priced about 29% to 42% higher depending on the size.
The large Aluminum Triplex shown above is equipped with four speed-tension settings and a wheelstop aperture. Throughout much of its production, the Triplex could be had with either Waterhouse stops or a wheelstop, finally being equipped with an iris during its last few years. The largest of the five openings on this example is 1-3/4", indicating it to be a No. 3 size, probably suitable for use on a 6-1/2x8-1/2 or 8x10 camera. The Triplex name plate is prominent, along with "Prosch M'F'G' Co., Makers, N.Y., Pat. Nov. 2d 1886" engraved on the shutter's face, next to the serial number. The date refers to Cyrus Prosch's Patent No. 352,098 for his earlier Duplex Shutter design, assigned to the Prosch Manufacturing Company. The hardware, in Aluminum or nickel-plated brass with an Aluminum mounting flange, represents the purest intent of the lightweight shutter's design. The lenses, probably a rapid rectilinear design, are unmarked as to maker. The shutter's approximate dimensions are 6-1/4" wide and 4-3/4" tall.
Other Aluminum Triplexes such as this one with a later serial number, have been seen with all-brass knobs, valves and linkage assemblies:
Despite being offered for about six years, the Aluminum Triplex's premium price would ultimately translate to lower demand and limited production. Relatively few of these shutters were made and not many are seen today.
Ad from Scovill's The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1894
Ad from The International Annual of Anthony's Photographic Bulletin, 1895