Friday, February 21, 2020

Cameras at an exhibition

The Oshkosh Public Museum’s Then and Now exhibit will include a selection of cameras from the Museum’s collection.

The collection is rather small and nothing is particularly valuable but it does include a few items of interest. Until recently they were generally uncatalogued. Since I spent most of last year working with them, I was asked to choose what would be included in the exhibit.

I went to retrieve them from storage with Neville and my new little Joby tripod.

Waiting for the elevator on the third floor.

Most of the artifacts are stored in the annex which was the carriage house of the Sawyer Mansion. To get to the storage area, you have to go through the well equipped museum shop.

All the photographic technology is stored in compact shelving.

Everything that will fit is stored in boxes, but some items, such as this wooden 8x10 studio camera and its massive stand, are too large and sit on the shelves by themselves.

Some of the boxes have quite a few items in them and the box has to be nearly emptied to get to the right item.

As I got them out I put them on the bottom shelf of the cart.

Back on the third floor, here they are all opened and ready to be cleaned and prepped for exhibition. (n. b. I made use of the magnetic feet on my new little Joby tripod to just attach the camera to the metal cabinet door)

They are, clockwise starting in upper left hand corner:

  • An 1895 Telephoto Cycle Poco 5x7 view camera which folded up so you could take it on your bicycle.
  • A 1931 Zeiss-Icon Orix 9x12cm plate camera which was owned by Lewis Hine, famous for his ground breaking work on child labor, who grew up in Oshkosh. I saw a picture of Ansel Adams with one of these this morning.
  • A 1937 Soho 4x5 SLR, very similar to a Graflex. It was used until the 1960’s by an Oshkosh commercial photographer who had studied with William Mortenson, who Ansel Adams hated. (I’m currently cataloging his extensive makeup kit.)
  • A mug shot camera custom made by the Wisconsin State Crime Lab which was used by the Oshkosh Police Department.
  • A 50th Anniversary Kodak box camera, half a million of which were given away to children who had their 12th birthday in 1930.
  • A bakelite 1932 Baby Brownie Special - pretty much a little box camera but with an Art Deco look.
  • A turquoise Vest Pocket Kodak Series III from the early 1930’s
  • A falling plate Adlake Magazine camera from about 1880 which could be pre-loaded with 12 glass plates.
  • A post-war Exacta 35mm SLR which was owned and used by the Museum.
  • And a “portable” Speed Graphic.
The Museum doesn’t have any pinhole cameras.

Neville has a .15mm pinhole 24mm from a 24x36mm frame.  Lomography 100 film.

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