THE "SNAPPA" CAMERA
Rochester Optical & Camera Company, Rochester, New York 1902-1903
Introduced in 1902 and only produced into 1903, Rochester Optical & Camera Company's "Snappa" Camera was available only in 3-1/4 x 4-1/4.
The camera utilized a pre-loaded metal magazine, referred to in the Snappa's instruction manual as the "Exposure Box", that was capable of holding 12 glass plates or 24 "Snappa Cut Films". The magazine could easily be removed in daylight, simply by rotating the nickel-plated key located externally on the magazine's head. As the chamber surrounding the magazine (referred to as the "Telescope" in the instruction manual and factory catalogue) is pulled out and pushed back in, an exposed plate holder was exchanged for an unexposed one. As this process continued, an internal counter kept tally, displaying an exposure number through an opening in the camera's body at the rear.
This "Snappa" example, showing significant wear, is accompanied by its original cardboard box and instruction manual. It's equipped with R.O.C.'s "Auto Shutter", the only shutter available on the "Snappa" for 1902. By 1903, it was only offered with the "Gem Shutter".
Despite its ability "to make twenty-four successful exposures in the space of half a minute", and being compact and solidly constructed, the "Snappa" was apparently unpopular and relatively few were ever sold. This is evidenced by its appearance in Premo catalogues for only two years, and the relative few seen by collectors over the past three decades.
The "Snappa" is a camera that many of us have been hoping to find for years. And just when we think we've found one, it usually turns out to be one of the "Snappa's" look-alike siblings in the form of the Star Premo or the Pocket Premo.
A rather rare camera, of which I have seen maybe three examples.
Telescope pulled partially out
Exposure counter located on the back panel
"Snappa" instruction manual
"Snappa" Camera at center