|The best known
of the big single lens reflex cameras is the Graflex. In one form or another
the "Graflex" was produced from 1902 to the 1960's. When we speak of the
Graflex SLR we mean a single lens reflex camera of 2x3 or larger image
size that had a focal plane shutter who were the predecessors and competition
for the Graflex.
Who were the predecessors and competition for the Graflex and how long did they last? Have you ever beard of (or seen) an Anthony Viso? A Patent Hand Camera, a Junior Reflex or a reflex camera made by the Reflex Camera Company? A Rochester Optical Primo Reflecting Camera? A Hall Mirror Reflex or a Burke and James Ingento Reflecting Camera? Or even a Patent Monocular Reflex made by F W Smith? Did I miss any? I hope not, but I am sure someone will tell me if I did. Not all cameras we will talk about have focal plane shutters but do have a lot in common with the Graflex.
The single lens reflex Graflex camera was introduced right after the turn of the century in 1901-02, and in one form or another was in continuous production until the 4x5 Super D ceased in the early 1960's.
The earlier models, before 1901-02, preceded the Graflex and probably influenced its design; none however lasted anywhere as long as the Graflex camera.
The chronology as best as I can figure was
1897 - Anthony Visu
1900 - Patent Reflex Hand Camera - The Reflex Camera Co.
1903-06 - Rochester Premo Reflecting Camera
1909 - the Reflex Camera
1911 - Hall Mirror Reflex and The Ingento Reflecting Camera
Perhaps the other reflex cameras appeared too early and the Graflex came at just the right time. Do any of our readers have insights that would enlarge this study?
Note: The dates are from catalogues and ads and are not necessarily
the first date any camera appeared. For example the Ingento Reflecting
camera was first located in a 1911-12 Burke and James catalog. I could
not find an earlier version.
|[Click on one of the cameras below to see a larger image.]|
(This adaptation of a 4x5 RBB lens was submitted by Cliff Scofield. It wasn't until the Super D models were introduced that factory-created auto-diaphragms became available on Graflex SLR's).
The Reflex Camera, 1909
Hall Mirror Reflex