Empire State View Camera c1910

Empire State Camera
courtesy of piercevaubel web site

Toronto. Around 1960, I would drive down to Toronto on a Saturday and browse down Yonge Street above and below Wellesley. One one such trip, I discovered and bought an old view camera called an Empire State. It was in an old suitcase but came without a lens or shutter.

Years later in Dorval, a manager in accounting supplies saw me with some old camera brochures and offered to give me two old lenses he had. The next day he dropped by with the pair – including an old lens fitted in a UNICUM shutter and just the right age and focal length for my full plate Empire State camera.

I made a lens board and viola! I had a workable camera. At our June 1977 picnic at Pioneer Village in Toronto I used the combination to take this picture – it is from Photographic Canadiana 3-3, page 15. The journal printing was rather crude in those days with poor resolution and half tones. I used a bleach on the submitted photo, which was much better quality, to whiten the post tops. I had fitted one of the the camera film holders with an adapter to take 4×5 cut film to take photographs.

Check out this web site (piercevaubel) for more details on the Empire State and related cameras of that era. The site has a wealth of information on old cameras. My Empire State had the white name plate, the brass plum bob arrow on the side, and a removable, hinged front track. The leather handle had rotted away and I replaced it with some strands of insulated telephone wire.

Thanks again to John Linsky for the link and idea.

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