THE SUNART VICI
Sunart Photo Company, Rochester, New York 1893 - 1899
The Sunart Vici was one of several cameras in a Sunart series that were named "Veni", "Vidi" and "Vici" to distinguish their various features. When used in a phrase, the Latin verbs loosely translate to "I came, I saw, I conquered".
Introduced in 1893, the year of Sunart's founding, the camera in this series were characterized by their heavier construction, elaborate hardware and their unique tubular guide rails. Due to the lack of reference material, it's hard to determine how long these heavier-built Sunart's lasted. However, based on cameras by other manufacturers of the period that were also more heavily constructed, the trend lasted for about three or four years. One exception was the Henry Clay Regular, which remained virtually unchanged until its last year or two of production. By 1899, Sunart's last year, only the Vici and the Vidi remained with the Veni having been dropped from Sunart's 1898 catalogue. Later Sunart models would be lighter and less elaborate, trending toward the cycle-style cameras that emerged in the mid-to-late 1890's. In 1899, Sunart was
The Vici was available in 4x5, 5x7 and 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 formats. Two of these Vici's are shown here. The Vici 5x7 is equipped with Bausch & Lomb's Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892. This shutter reportedly appeared briefly in 1892/1893 before being discontinued. However, its appearance on the "Lloyd" Camera in Andrew J. Lloyd's 1897 catalogue as the "Lloyd Shutter", suggests that B&L's Model of 1892 was produced for maybe four or five years at least. The larger Vici Special 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 has double-swing, a hinged-bed for wide angle work and a Bausch & Lomb Iris Diaphragm Shutter with a Zeiss Anastigmat IIa lens. For more information on both these shutters, see the "Shutters" section of this website.
Bausch & Lomb Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892 Bausch & Lomb Iris Diaphragm Shutter - Model of 1891
Examples of Sunart's earliest cameras are rarely encountered, and the Time & Instantaneous Shutter - Model of 1892 seen on this Vici 5x7, is the only example I've ever come across.
Vici Special 6-1/2 x 8-1/2
Hinged bed for wide angle work
From Sunart's 1899 catalogue Image courtesy of Pacific Rim Camera
Vici Special 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 Vici 5x7