THE FOLDING POCO CAMERA - ORIGINAL MODEL
Rochester Camera Manufacturing Company, Rochester, New York 1894
This is believed to be the original model of the Folding Poco Camera, thought to have been introduced in 1894.
The Folding Poco Camera does not yet make its appearance in Rochester Camera Manufacturing Company's 1893 catalogue, probably first appearing in their 1894 catalogue. The camera's larger, buttress-style wood enclosed shutter is similar to that found on RCM's earlier Rochester 5x7 Folding Camera, the shutter controls being different. While sharing many similarities to RCM's Rochester 5x7 Folding Camera and the Rochester Folding Camera - Final Model, the side loading door's interior is stamped "POCO".
By June, 1895, the camera is trending towards a lighter design as depicted in RCM's catalogues. The lens standard on both the external shutter and wood-enclosed shutter versions, are totally different as seen on surviving examples and in the advertisement below from 1895 for the camera with its "New Poco Shutter".
1895 advertisement for the Folding Poco Camera and the new Poco Shutter, from Harper's Magazine
In the case of the first model featured here, the larger, buttress-style wood enclosed shutter is similar to that found on RCM's earlier Rochester 5x7 Folding Camera, the shutter controls being different. While sharing many similarities to RCM's Rochester 5x7 Folding Camera and the Rochester Folding Camera - Final Model, the side loading door's interior is stamped "POCO".
This example shown directly below is missing its leather covering and the handle is not original.
The extended body model shown below is missing its lens. It's undetermined as to whether this first Folding Poco Camera was offered with an external shutter, which would probably have been the original model of the Poco Shutter. The camera measures approximately 6-1/8" deep, and was capable of holding five standard 4x5 plate holders. This is in contrast to the standard version measuring approximately 4-1/2" deep that held three plate holders. This is the only example of this model I've encountered with an extended body
Like the standard body shown above, this extended body example's handle is not original. This camera exhibits worn and missing leather.
Shown below is a later model, Folding Poco Camera No. 12 with an extended body. The "12" in the model name refers to the camera's price at $12 (camera, lens, shutter and one double dry-plate holder). Apparently, Rochester Camera Manufacturing Company designated their other numbered models in the same manner, as reflected in their June, 1895 catalogue:
Both the standard body and extended body versions featured here are the only two original Folding Poco Cameras I've ever seen. Along with most of Rochester Camera Manufacturing's earliest cameras, this first model can be considered rare.
For more information on other Rochester Camera Manufacturing models and the shutters they're equipped with, look under the "Antique Cameras" and "Shutters" sections on this website.