Tisdell Manufacturing Company, Scranton, Pennsylvania                           1894





This Tisdell 4x5 Rapid Rectilinear lens is believed to have come from a Tisdell & Whittelsey Detective or Hand Camera, as they were also referenced as. These detective cameras were available in 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 and 4x5 format, and some have been found equipped with lenses by Dallmeyer and Ross.

Abner Tisdell patented his detective camera on August 31, 1886, Patent No. 348,301.  It's believed that production of the camera began by 1888.  Trow's New York City Directory for May 1, 1888, indicates Abner G. Tisdell dealt in photographic materials with an address at 130 Fulton Street.

It's interesting to note, that per McKeown's, Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras, 2005-2006, the company's name changed from Tisdell & Whittelsey (New York) to the Tisdell Camera & Mfg. Company, Scranton, Pennsylvania after 1893.  This lens states "Tisdell Mfg. Co., Scranton, Pa."  It's undetermined whether the omission of "Camera" in the lens' engraving was for brevity's sake, or whether the company's name changed.  The lens' approximate dimensions are 2" high, with a 1-5/8" shade diameter and a 1-7/16" barrel diameter. Tisdell also marketed magic lanterns, stereopticons and other related supplies, but isn't known as a lens maker or supplier of other camera objectives.  If this is indeed a lens for Tisdell's Detective or Hand Camera, the mount is most likely still with the camera.


Anything with the Tisdell name is rare today, and not many of their detective cameras have survived.









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                                                                   Undated ad, pre-1893                       Source:  Unknown



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         June 3, 1893 ad from the Scranton Republican Newspaper