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Photographic Equipment > Cameras

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Studio camera used for printing, 1914 - 1920
zoom image

Object statement
Studio camera, with lens and cover, electric timer, and glass plate, wood / leather / metal / glass, made by R Littlejohn, place unknown, c. 1914 / electric timer made by Edgcumbe, England, c. 1920
Newspaper production was one of the major sources of public information for over a century, and efforts were constantly made to perfect speedier means of producing them.

Although the process of photography was being perfected by the 1890s and large studio cameras were being produced, it was generally accepted by editors and proprietors of daily newspapers that it was lowering the dignity of their journals to publish illustrations as part of the daily news. Illustration was then regarded as more the province of the weekly journals than daily newspapers.

However the need to reproduce graphic illustrations during the First World War and the perfection of methods of acid engraving of printing blocks (rather than hand engraving woodcuts) revolutionised the art of printing photographs as the linotype machine revolutionised the creation of lines of type (rather than hand setting).

This object is one of the first studio cameras used at the 'Sydney Morning Herald' to produce pictures and illustrations in the newspaper. It's employment as part of the newspaper's production represents a significant change in the paper's history: the inclusion of graphics as part of the daily run.

Damian McDonald
December 2007
Manufacturer's plate "R Littlejohn" appears on the camera.

Everett Edgcumbe, made in England appears on the electric timer.
This camera was used in a studio in the Herald building to photograph images to appear in newspapers. The negatives were then converted to half tone zinc blocks.

This camera was used by John Fairfax & Sons from about World War 1 until the 1950s. It was then acquired by the Christian Broadcasting Association at Five Dock who also produced pictorial material and the modifications were probably made by them. It was then acquired by the present donor but never used by him.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Studio camera, with lens and cover, electric timer, and glass plate, wood / leather / metal / glass, made by R Littlejohn, place unknown, c. 1914 / electric timer made by Edgcumbe, England, c. 1920

Wooden camera and bellows, with lens, electric timing device, and glass plate. Has a feature enabling the photographer to view the image through a special attachment. The camera has been removed from the long section of rails that it ran on for ease of movement; and adapted by having a suction tube attached - the tube was attached to a vacuum cleaner and used to suck air from the camera thus ensuring that the film remained without air bubbles. The lens attaches to the front face of the camera. The glass plate, with an image transferred onto it, fits over the front of the camera. The bellows sit between two rectangular wooden frames, and are extended by moving the two frames apart along a short section of rails. The electric timer was used to set the amount of exposure when taking a photograph.

Made: 1914 - 1920
2007/228/1
Production date
1914 - 1920
Height
1000 mm
Width
610 mm

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Gift of Robert Napper, 2007
Subjects
+ Printing technology
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/319422
Cite this object in Wikipedia
Copy and paste this wiki-markup:

{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/319422 |title=Studio camera used for printing |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=19 September 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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