QUTA SELF-CASING CAMERA
Quta Camera & Plate Company, 20 West 15th Street, New York City 1904-1906
The Quta Camera & Plate Company is best known today for their ingenious tintype street camera, the Quta Photo Machine, manufactured between 1904 and 1911.
The Photo Machine's design was patented by Herbert Edward Hickox, under Patent No. 697,624 dated April 15, 1902. Hickox also patented a subsequent ferrotype street camera, the Taquta, with a pedestal-mounted design, Patent No. 832,316 on October 2, 1906. The company is known to have existed between 1904 and 1919, based on advertisements and company records. The Annual Report of the State Treasurer (New York) for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1904, lists the Quta Camera & Plate Company. William J. Brady is listed in the Directory of Directors in the City of New York for 1915-1916 as Secretary and Director of the Quta Camera & Plate Company. They are known to have occupied at least three addresses in New York:
20 West 15th Street, New York City (1904-1906) (1904 and 1906 ads)
88 Cypress Avenue, New York (1905 ad, Polk's Directory 1 March 1909)
250 11th Ave, New York (Trow's/Polk's Directory 1918-1919)
Quta manufactured at least one self-casing camera, this 5x7 example, equipped with a Scientific Lens Company, extreme wide angle 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 lens in a Unicum Shutter. Having red bellows, it was most likely manufactured between 1904-1906 as many camera companies were transitioning to black bellows about 1906. Other than the Quta name stamped on the lens standard base, there are no other markings or identification. The metal post lens standard with the knurled-nut tensioning feature appears identical to that found on Rochester Optical's Premo Folding Film Camera No. 2. Although the Quta and this Premo model share the same timeframe, there are no similar Rochester Optical cameras to suggest that the Quta was private branded. Very few references or advertisements have been seen for Quta products. They are known to have marketed photographic supplies to support their Quta Photo Machine and a paper cutter has been seen with the Quta company name.
This is one of only two Quta self-casing 5x7 cameras that I've ever encountered. With no other self-casing examples seen, and maybe a half-dozen or so Quta Photo Machines known to exist, it's safe to say that any Quta camera can be considered extremely scarce, or in the case of the Quta Photo Machine, rare.