THE ALBION CAMERA
Scovill Manufacturing Company, New York 1886-1897
Reportly introduced in 1886 or 1887, the Albion Camera has been found in at least three variations. This Variation 1 example's built-in tripod base was patented by Willard H. Fuller of Passaic, New Jersey, on November 27, 1888 under patent No. 393,696. The patent was assigned to the Scovill Manufacturing Company of New York. One of the tripod's three mounting points is stamped "Pat. Applied For", indicating this camera was probably manufactured prior to November 27, 1888:
The camera exhibits a French-polished finish and decorative file markings on the brass hardware. An assembly number "7" can be found in several places on the body, with the camera's back having a nickel-plated tag engraved "Scovill Manufacturing Co. New York":
The Scovill Light-Weight Double Holder that accompanied this 5x7 example is stamped "Pat. Jany. 27. -88". This date is believed to refer to an "Application for Letters Patent" (patent filing) No. 1,291 granted to Charles Henry Stanbury of Southampton Buildings, London, for "Improvements in dark chambers for photographic purposes". This would seem to follow, given that the Albion is an English Compact-style camera. It's undetermined whether a patent was ever issued. Stanbury also secured "Specifications Published" (patent granted) No. 5,158 which was granted April 2,1890 for "Change-Boxes and Dark Slides". In the case of these designs, it's undetermined whether either of them were ever secured by Scovill.
However, a believed January,1888 ad in Scovill's "How to Make Photographs and Descriptive Price List" stated that all the imported English holders would warp when subjected to the severe test of our climate and the slides would refuse to move "without provocation". This would suggest that Scovill's Light-Weight Double Holders were made in the U.S.
The lens board (missing on this camera) differs from another known Variation 1. It apparently differed from the slotted brass L-shaped strip arrangement to secure the rise and fall of the lens board, seen on the other example. This is evidenced by the lens standard's lack of any screw hole for a knurled knob.
Despite a production run lasting at least ten years, and having several variations, few examples of the Albion survive today.