Vive Camera Company, 153 Lasalle Street, Chicago, Illinois           circa 1900




Magazine cameras reached the peak of their popularity during the late 1890's, with this style of camera being offered by a number of manufacturers both here in the U.S. and abroad.

The Compact 5x7 Tourist Magazine Vive would be the one of the largest magazine cameras ever offered by the Vive Camera Company.  Seen in their 1900 catalogue, it's possible the camera was introduced a year or so earlier, but probably lasted no more than a year or two later.

The Vive Company offered two styles of magazine cameras. The mechanical plate changing style, referred to as their "M.P.C." cameras, involved a drop plate arrangement activated by a tab on the camera's side. Their tourist style cameras incorporated a cloth sleeve to facilitate manually changing the plates internally.

The company's founder, John L. Atwater (1852-1934) of Western Springs, Illinois, was responsible for this sleeve-style version of the Vive's design as well as the "M.P.C." camera's version, a shutter and a multiplying attachment for the camera. Reeve S. (Scranton) Atwater (1875-1901), also of Western Springs, Illinois and John Atwater's eldest son, was listed as the Secretary of the Vive Camera Company in the Lakeside Annual Directory for the City of Chicago, 1897.  By 1898, Reeve Atwater was listed as the President of the Vive Camera Company in the Lakeside Annual Directory for the City of Chicago, 1898. He also designed a shutter for the Vive Camera and would pass away from Tuberculosis at the age of 26.  In all, John Atwater held four patents, and Reeve Atwater one patent, all being assigned to the Vive Camera Company.   The Vive Camera Company was said to have ceased operations in 1908, and by the 1920 Census, John L. Atwater is listed as a minister.

The tag on the example shown here is marked "V7", which referred to the camera's style designation as seen in their catalogues:



Like the Magazine Twin Lens Vive and the 3-1/2 x 6-3/4 Tourist Style cameras that were also priced at $15, the Compact 5x7 Tourist Magazine fell into the higher end of Vive's magazine camera line. None of these models proved as popular as Vive's 4-1/4 x 4-1/4 and 4x5 M.P.C.'s, production was evidently very low and they are rarely encountered today.


 From Vive Camera Company's 1900 catalogue       (courtesy of Pacific Rim Camera)


Vive Camera Company's 1900 catalogue cover      (courtesy of Pacific Rim Camera)