The Photo Materials Company, Rochester, New York       1893-1894



Per Dr. Rudolf Kingslake's The Rochester Camera and Lens Companies,1974, the Photo Materials Company was incorporated in 1892 by Henry M. Reichenbach,  a chemist who had been working with Eastman for several years on the development of cellulose nitrate film;  Gustave D. Milburn, a camera maker; and S. Carl Passavant, another chemist.

Gustave Milburn designed the Trokonet, with Patent No. 497,525 being granted to him on May 16, 1893 and assigned to the Photo Materials Company:


                                 Source:  Google Patents


Introduced about June of 1893, the Trokonet Camera series was intended for hand or tripod use. The camera's magazine would accept either twelve glass plates or twenty-four cut films. The magazine was more of a cartridge, which could either be thrown away and replaced with a pre-loaded factory cartridge, or it could be repacked and reused.   The camera was made in two sizes and models were identified either by numbers or by letters. Each camera featured two finders, an instantaneous and time shutter with adjustable speeds, rack and pinion focusing with a scale for focusing, an exposure counter, and two tripod sockets. The cameras exhibited beautiful wood interiors, and were covered in morocco leather.

Despite the cameras progressive features and outstanding build quality, sales were apparently unsuccessful and production ended in 1894.  Relatively few were probably sold, based on the scant number estimated to exist in private collections and maybe a couple of examples having surfaced in the last twenty-five years.    Trokonet old stock continued to be offered in Montgomery Ward's Catalogue No. 57 for Spring & Summer 1895. The company would continue to manufacture other photographic materials, finally being acquired by Eastman Kodak in 1898.


Photo Material's cameras are almost never seen today, no doubt due to a brief and limited production run and the company's short-lived existence.







               May 16, 1893 patent day stamped on the rear door's interior





                              Photo Materials Company receipt acknowledgement


                                       Photo Materials Company correspondence


                       Photo Materials Company trade card for the Trokonet  (front)


                      Photo Materials Company trade card for the Trokonet  (back)

                             Photo Materials Company advertisement for the Trokonet




         From Montgomery Ward's Catalogue No. 57 for Spring and Summer 1895