THE TRIAD CAMERA
Scovill & Adams Company, New York 1891-1897
Scovill's Triad was introduced by January, 1891, in the company of such other cameras as the Scovill Detective, Advill, New Waterbury Detective, Knack and the Mascot. Initially known as the Triad, it was listed as the Waterbury Triad in 1896 near the end of its production. Marketed by the Scovill & Adams Company, it was available in 4x5 and 5x7 sizes.
The Triad, which replaced the Eastman Roll Holder-equipped Mascot, was aimed at photographers desiring to use flexible film as well as glass plates or cut film, hence the name "Triad". The camera was designed to accept a roll holder, and came standard with one and either two double plate holders or two double film holders at a price of $35 in 1892. Equipped with two finders for horizontal or vertical work, their design provided a proportionate view equal to the resulting image. Focusing was achieved by viewing the image on the ground glass, through the rear access door. An adjustment knob at the top of the camera was marked for distance, moving the lens in and out through a rack and pinion arrangement. Fitted with an Instantaneous Rapid Group Lens, the aperture could be changed by sliding a metal tab with various sized openings. Holes were placed in the camera's base to access the roll holder's controls. The Triad's dimensions are 6-1/4" in height, 7-13/16" wide and 8-7/8" in depth.
The shutter was fitted to the interior of the sliding front panel, and was string-set via an external charging lever. The camera is easily distinguishable from other Scovill detective cameras with its two side-by-side finders. Its spring-tensioned lens cover is a feature that's also found on some other Scovill Waterbury Detective models. The Triad has also been found with an extended body to hold a greater number of holders. For more information on this version, look for it under the "Antique Cameras" section of this website.
It's interesting to note that the camera depicted in advertisements for the Triad is actually the Waterbury Detective Camera, as it's shown with only one viewfinder. The reason for the error is unknown, but this same engraving carried forward from the Triad's introduction in 1891 through at least 1896. The camera's description during this same period, mentions it having a "Recessed Finder" with other references to "a finder" or "the finder", but never states that the Triad had two view finders.
By 1897, Scovill & Adams' only remaining detective cameras were the Waterbury Detective (also referred to as the Waterbury Regular), the Waterbury Triad (as the Triad was now called) and the New Waterbury (formerly the Waterbury Hand Camera). They all disappeared from the marketplace that year.
Like most of Scovill's earlier detective or hand cameras, the Triad is seldom seen today. When encountered, it's almost always found in its standard roll holder-equipped configuration in 4x5. A Triad in 5x7 would easily rate on the higher side of rare.
Ad for the Triad from Scovill's American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac 1893