Rochester Camera Company, Rochester, New York       1898




The Folding Gem Poco, R.R. Lens, is seen in Rochester Camera Company's Catalogue and Price List, April, 1898. Rochester Camera Company became Rochester Camera & Supply Company in 1899.


Two versions of the Folding Gem Poco were offered, one having a simple wood-encased shutter and lens priced at $7, the other being equipped with a Unicum Shutter and a rapid rectilinear lens for $16. The wood-encased version was also marketed as the Folding Hub by Dame, Stoddard & Kendall of Boston, Massachusetts. Like Rochester Camera Company's other higher-priced cameras, the Folding Gem Poco/Folding Hub were constructed of polished select mahogany with polished and lacquered brass fittings, and were covered in the best Morocco grain leather.


This rapid rectilinear "R.R." example appears to closely align with the 1898 catalogue engraving above, showing a similar knurled knob and slotted plate to secure the lens board's height. This arrangement, along with its lens board which is actually positioned behind the lens standard's posts, is the camera's most unique attribute:




It differs from the style typically seen on most self-casing cameras of the period, where the lens board is positioned within slots in each post. As seen in some instances, when a company's name changes, parts marked with the previous company's name find their way into the latest company's cameras. In this case (pun intended), maybe it's in reverse. The camera's case is marked "Folding Gem Poco, Rochester Camera & Supply Co.", possibly in anticipation of Rochester Camera & Supply continuing Rochester Camera Company's model as the company transitioned. However, it's not shown in any of Rochester Camera & Supply's catalogues, and the Folding Gem Poco together with its unique lens board feature, apparently disappeared by 1899.


The Folding Gem Poco wood-encased version is seen with some frequency, but this is the only "R.R." version with this lens board style that I have ever encountered. Its scarcity can be attributed to the model's very short production run and its price which was more than double that of the wood-encased version.