Improv at the Gold Room

Clint Hryhorijiw, Moderator

Guest speaker Joe Behar of Vistek had to cancel his presentation on short notice due to a more pressing commitment leaving our Programs Chairman scrambling. With the help of a few members Clint put together an excellent and informative evening as you will see below. Amazing what our members happen to have with them at meetings!

Larry Boccioletti and his Street Photographer's Camera

Sidewalk Photography Camera. Larry Boccioletti opened the improv with his latest acquisition. A c1940 tintype camera of the kind seen at carnivals, beaches and in downtown tourist areas into the 1950s. This example came without a lens (Larry added a projection lens to enhance the looks), and missing the development tank. The rugged looking mechanism was housed in a plywood body that looked to be a home-made replacement for the original. The camera includes a built-in heavy knife for cutting off the exposed plates from the roll of Japanned and sensitized tin-plate.

Larry Boccioletti and his big Deardorff

8 x 10 Deardorff. The second item presented by Larry was a 50+ year old camera made by the Deardorff brothers in Chicago. This Standard 8 x 10 model was considered the Cadillac of the view cameras with its high quality construction, finish and features. (Rumour has it the brothers bought up fine woods from speakeasies in Chicago after Elliot Ness and the boys finished going over the place with ummmm heavy instruments.) This camera has nickel finished metal parts and a newer very fine Rodenstock lens/shutter. The back includes a 4 x 5 plate adaptor. The camera was part of the equipment used by a local media operation for many years. The seller had 35 of the cameras and about 40 lenses.

front and side of tintype camera
front detail of
a peek inside the tintype camera
open case showing
Tintype spool
chamber (top)
and mechanism.
        back of the Deardorff showing the 4 x 5 holder Cast name plate and tripod socket on camera bottom a beautiful Rodenstock lens/shutter
front view of Deardorff more radical camera movements Deardorff 8 x 10

Top: back,
name plate and lens

camera movements

Shelton shows the lens detail
Robert Rotoloni's Nikon Rangefinder book

Dummy Nikon S Camera. Shelton Chen presented this extremely rare Nikon with a fascinating story of how he found it. eBay has an alert feature that emails you when an article is listed with selected words in its description. One night, he received two messages about lots mentioning Nikon S cameras. The first message was of no interest. The second one mentioned a non-working camera in good cosmetic condition -- great for display. The price asked was low enough that Shelton felt it would be a reasonable purchase for parts alone. He won the bid.

In due course the camera arrived. While in very good condition, it was missing all the internal shutter and rangefinder parts. Looking up information in Rotoloni’s book, he discovered his camera was a rare salesman’s dummy - a cheaper camera shell used by stores for displays to reduce losses in case of theft. In fact, the camera Shelton bought was the very one pictured in Rotoloni’s book. The seller had purchased the entire stock of a store on the eastern seaboard, including this camera. The lens is also a dummy with only a front glass. Inside, the body and lens are mostly unfinished. Nikon pulled cameras out of the assembly process to make the samples and time wasn’t wasted finishing the unseen areas. Shelton believes these cameras were assembled using rejected parts.

showing the empty body shell close-up detail of body shell front view - cosmetically excellent engraving on bottom plate L to R: showng the empty camera, close-up of interior, front view, engraving on base.

we thought Ron was checking the time
instead he snapped our picture

Got the Time? Ron Anger came up to tell about his newest digital camera. Browsing at a contents sale, he spotted a box of watches. In the box was this little gem - a Casio wristwatch/camera that takes pictures via a lens on the side of the case. Shots are previewed in monochrome using the watch dial.

It can store 100 images and download them via an infrared device similar to that in a Palm Pilot. Ron discovered this after doing a web search and returned the next day to buy the IR receiver and power supply which he had spotted earlier in a box of computer junk.

timer/watch/preview screen
The preview images appear on the above screen in place of the time or as shown, the timer setting.

Mo shows the folding pocket Kodak 3A autographic

Parting with Old Favourites. Mo Patz explained that she is still selling off her late husband’s collection and is down to some personal favourites some of which she had with her for sale tonight. She began with a lovely Kodak 3A autographic complete with a close focussing chain like that on a Minox. Mo held up the camera and mentioned that it was sold as a pocket camera and could indeed fit a pocket like that in her step-father’s winter overcoat! Next in fast order were a number of Houghton camera products including a magazine camera. And an unusual looking Printex Press Camera made in England around 1946. Mo showed a safe light that uses a tiny tea candle as a source of illumination. She recounted how in England during the WW2 bombings, her parents provided a similar lamp as a tiny night light so she wouldn’t be frightened.

showing the inner workings of the magazine camera Printex Press Camera c1946 candle power darkroom safe-light wooden contact printer for roll film These items are for sale. Email me at and I will forward your request to Ms Patz.
close view of Printex Press camera lens/shutter mechanism holding the magazine camera set for close focus top of the magazine camera

George showing front cover
and here is the article

Interpret your Photographs. George Dunbar happened to have a magazine with him, the Christmas Issue of “Your Family History”. In it was a lavishly illustrated article showing the amateur genealogist how to date family photos from the last half of the 1800s.

Is that a Chocolate Bar? Before leaving the lectern, George reached in his pocket and pulled out a package the size of a Mars bar. It was his new Sony Cybershot camera. A 2 megapixel wonder which has been George’s companion since he received it at Christmas. After a long career as a photographer he is amazed that this tiny gadget can record from 245 to over 1,300 pictures on a card the size of a postage stamp.

and it covers over seven pages look at what my kids gave me for Christmas      The Sony Cybershot in action taking a picture of George taking a picture George snapped this picture of Maurice 'Sammy' Samuels hand held at 1/13 second. I leaned on his shoulder to capture the camera and preview image along with Sammy at 1/15 second with my Coolpix.

Les goes through his goodie bag from a slow drive to Ottawa

Images Abound on the Way to Ottawa. Les Jones just arrived back from a leisurely drive to Ottawa, stopping at antique shops along the way. He assured us that finds were still out there if you take the time. He found a daguerreotype for $12 - the first in about six months since most end up on eBay these days. He did point out that the seller didn’t know the difference between dags and tintypes, which he sold for as much as $35. He found real photo postcards not just the much more common printed cards. Most of the stereo cards he saw were picked over poor quality examples with common subject matter and high priced at $6 to $8 due to the eBay influence. He still managed to find a few choice stereos such as a rare glass stereo shot of Niagara Falls by Babbitt.

Les noted that images of a number of subjects were worth buying including those of dolls, dogs, bicycles, ethnic portraits, sports, and landscapes. In closing he said, “Don’t pass up garage sales. For example, I recently found a handwritten book of photographic formulae used by a man called Schneider" – contact Les if you can add more information on this family of photographers.

You just have to see these books

Call of the Orient. Clint did a wrap-up with three unusual albums of Asian images (predominately Japanese) from the late 1800s. At an auction preview of mostly decorative goods and Oriental art, he came across these albums from the family of George Henry Field, a ship's doctor on an Orient line running between North America and various ports in China and Japan. Field was an amateur photographer and one album contained his ship-board photos of the sailors at work and play. He was also a collector of hand-coloured albumen prints. The prints where mounted in two albums using an accordion fold of heavy board between two fine lacquered covers. The large album included a print showed the place in Kowloon where pirates were executed - officials standing in a row behind a number of bodies with well separated heads.

hand painted albumen prints from late 1800s Japan cover detail on one of the small albums a picture of the execution of pirates -- and their heads are a way over here notation on reverse of Dr. Field's portrait Doctor George H. Field on board his ship - 1896 lots of interest in Clint's Asian gems

In all, a very worthwhile evening full of interesting and unusual photographica.The images shown here were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 990 and adjusted and sized in Photoshop CS except the snap of Sammy Samuels taken by George Dunbar with a Sony. Lighting was a challenge since this room did not have a bright flat ceiling for bounce flash. Clicking the images will bring up an enlarged version. All images on this page are copyright PHSC and may be used with permission. Questions? Please contact me at

Robert Carter

Back to Past Programs

return to the home page
Main Index
Facelift & Design © 1999 Zero Cattle
Page © 2004 by The Photographic Historical Society of Canada
Webmaster: Bob Carter
-- See What's New for more details

Lost?   Find your way with our Site Map!