Glencoe, Glencoe, What Art Thou Glencoe?

camera is badged Glencoe Empire State but is the maker CanCamCo or ROC?

Toronto. With apologies to Bill Shakespeare. When Brian Hudson enquired about his Canadian Camera (& Optical) Company camera, he set off quite a storm which hasn’t settled yet. I had an Empire State camera a few years ago. I added a lens and UNICUM shutter to the empty lens board. But it was definitely a Rochester Optical Company camera according to the plaque on its front.

The image at left is courtesy of the piercevaubel web site. It is similar to the one I had – both are full plate cameras. 

The latest email on Brian’s query came from Dr Irwin Reichstein of Ottawa just a week ago. Irwin writes, “I came across this site which is probably known to you which has many photo catalogues available.

I looked through catalogues that seemed relevant but the Glencoe was not mentioned in the years I thought relevant.   In the camera section, however, the Glencoe is mentioned.

However, it is interesting that in his write-up at the bottom he writes that the years manufactured is 1910.

     This camera is identical to the Rochester Optical Co. Empire State Variation 2., except that the device to make the bed rigid is a thumbscrew, whereas Rochester Optical was using their lever hook for quicker set up and take down.  Some of the hardware is rather distinctive and must have come from Rochester Optical, e.g., the fancy swing hinge, and the triangular ground glass clips.  For this reason, it is very likely that the Canadian Camera & Optical Co. got these cameras already constructed from the Rochester Optical Co., either by contracting with Rochester Optical to purchase cameras for resale, or by buying Rochester Optical’s old stock that didn’t have the lever hook device.

I had come across items about the company dated 1910 and it seems that the company was revived around 1910.  It may be that at this stage they were just importing as opposed to the 1900 time frame when they actually manufactured them.  So is the period of interest still just the early period or should we be looking at the 1910 period as well.

If have more information whether CanCamCo cameras were made, imported, or both by them or if you can confirm the years of operation of the company, please drop me an email at and I will pass it along to our editor, Bob Lansdale.

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