Simon Wing Multiplying View Camera
Owned And Used By
Daguerreotypist, Ambrotypist, Photographer
MR. O. W. DETWILER
This early Southworth and Hawes style studio camera, designed for multiple images on a single plate, was made by Simon Wing in Charlestown, Massachusetts. The unusual looking camera was constructed using fine grain mahogany wood and brass fittings.
The shutter (missing) was a hinged wood flap that covered and uncovered the shadow box front where the lens is on a movable lens board that can be placed in one of four slots that are spaced at different distances from the back within the shadow box depending on the focal length of the lens.
Viewing of the subject is done while looking at the image which is upside down on the removable ground glass back.
Focusing is achieved by turning the brass knob on the lower right side of the base, which moves the shadow box front - forward or back.
This front box is connected with the back via a square cornered leather bellows.
The back of the camera is constructed so that vertical and lateral movements can be adjusted in order that several separate multiple images can be produced on one plate.
The back is solidly connected to the base on which the shadow box front is supported. There is a storage area in the base that is accessed via a fold down front door.
The plate holder holds plates that measure eleven inches by eleven inches (11" x 11") or smaller with the use of different size plate inserts. The inserts found with this camera are for 6.75" x 9.75" and 5" x 7". The plate holder has a "handle" on the upper right side that has a brass plate with precise size markings, which are used to measure how far the holder is inserted into the back, to assist in the exact placement of the multiple images on the glass collodian covered plate.
This Southworth and Hawes style, Simon Wing Multiplying View Camera was originally purchased by Mr. O.W. Detwiler for use in his daguerreotype, ambrotype and photograph studio in downtown Canton, Missouri. The original studio as well as Mr. Detwiler's residence was on the second floor of the two story building that overlooks the Mississippi river. The studio was in operation from the late 1850's until the early 1900's. The well made studio building still stands today and this camera was discovered in the attic above the original studio in 1994 while the present owner of the building was doing some renovation work and installing a chimney vent for a pizza oven for his down stairs business. Hearing about this unusual find from a mutual acquaintance, I contacted the building owner and in 1996 I purchased this camera and the original mahogany tripod (not shown, yet!) from the building owner. Among the other rediscovered treasures found in the attic of Mr. Detwilers studio that I acquired was a 6th plate daguerreotype plate box, three full plate ambrotypes, a few smaller ambrotypes, a box full of various size wet plate negatives as well as a box full of various size dry plate negatives. Also found in the attic was a John Stock Wet Plate Camera c.1865 and a complete 8"x10" studio camera and stand by E.&H.T.Anthony c.1880 with a sliding 5"x 7" focusing back and in excellent condition. It is amazing to me that these cameras and photographic images had been completely forgotten and finally rediscovered nearly 100 years later.
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