close to the vest

C P Stirn Vest Camera c1886

Toronto. People have always been fascinated with “unusual“,  “spy” and “detective“cameras. We had a C.  Stirn vest camera on the block for the Walter Shean auction in the spring of 2003. Prior to that, there was an ad printed in our journal (06-2), page 3, dated July/August 1980.

The tiny camera was designed to fit behind a vest with the lens acting as one button and the glass-plate control as a second. Six round images could be taken on a single round glass-plate. An auxiliary box had a thread for a tripod.

Journal editor Lansdale added some Canadian content. Bob writes, “John Connon (360 degree pan camera inventor) while in New York was working for Stirn and company to try to get his panorama camera on the market,  became an agent for the Stirn camera in Canada.  His father tried to use it covering a trial and was arrested for trying to take a photograph.

“Stirn came up with the Wonder camera (and stole the patent) to update and replace the Connon pan camera with a simpler system that would appeal to the amateur…, They went bankrupt and nothing became of efforts…..”


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