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Historical Daguerrian Camera Outfit by Anthony

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Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2345
Date / Time :
July 29, 2006 10:00AM


Historical Daguerrian Camera Outfit by Anthony, New York, half-plate, with rosewood veneered body, chamfered front and back, sliding box focusing, double-hinged top with bone knobs, sprung internal divisions containing 5 1/2 x 4 1/4-inch ground-glass screen and plate-holder, and a rack-and-pinion focusing brass-bound lens with cap, on maple tripod with inverted acorn feet, (old split in camera front panel, later ? tilting top); an E. & H.T. Anthony & Co. darkroom lamp with maroon ruby glass shade (chipped); an advertisement for Anthony's National Daguerrian Depot; and an invoice for $25.23 to John C. Reeve from E. Anthony, dated March 1853, for plates and cases in varying formats.

Literature: The camera in this Lot is illustrated in Bill & Estelle Marder, (1982), Anthony, the Man, the Company, the Cameras, p. 44. It is the most complete The most complete American daguerrian camera to have been offered at auction recent years.

Note: Edward Anthony was born in New York City in 1819. He studied science and civil engineering, graduating from Columbia College in 1838, at the age of nineteen. The following year, in France, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre announced his photographic process to the world. At that time of Daguerre's breakthough, Samuel F.B. Morse, the inventor of the electro-magnetic telegraph, was in Paris trying to patent his own invention. He was quick to see the importance of daguerrian photography and, upon his return to New York, helped arrange the first exhibition of the new process in New York. It was at the new Granite building on the corner and Chambers St. and Broadway that Edward Anthony first saw a photographic image. Of this experience, he remarked in 1883, "I immediately became an enthusiastic amateur, and set about manufacturing an apparatus to take daguerreotypes. This I did at large expense, the camera, lens and all costing a sum total of twenty five cents ... With this crude instrument I amused myself by taking pictures out of the back windows." Then, in 1840, he enlisted the help of Professor Morse at his Nassau St. home, becoming one of Morse's earliest pupils in the study of photography. A series of lessons, a significant outlay at the time, would have cost between $25 - 50. He eventually opened his first photographic studio in late 1840 or early 1841 at 11 Park Row, New York, and became one of the first suppliers of photographic materials in America. He was quick to capitalize on the potential of the early mass-produced image, obtaining permission to publish and sell engravings (from photographs) of leading congressional figures of the day. (See Lot 360). The National Miniature Gallery, which Anthony began advertising in 1843, claimed to possess "several hundred perfect likenesses of eminent American Statemen and other Distnguished Characters", many of which had been taken by Anthony in Washington the previous year.
By 1840, Edward Anthony had apparently constructed two daguerrian cameras for his own use. He later refined his design, producing Anthony's Improved Rosewood and Cedar Dagerreotype Camera Box, and a bellows camera called "Anthony's Improved", which he advertised in his 1854 catalogue of photographic apparatus. Lenses may well have been supplied by C.C. Harrison, whose premises were located next to Anthony's new Railroad Depot. factory (consolidating his various business into one), in 1853. Edward's brother, Henry, joined the firm in 1852 and, a decade later, in 1862 the firm's name was officially changed to E. & H.T. Anthony & Co. Following a merger with Scovill & Adams Co. in 1902, to form Anthony & Scovill, the name was contracted to Ansco. Agfa's American operations joined forces with Ansco in 1928, and the resulting company remains a force in the photographic world today. See color plate p. X.
Estimate $20,000-30,000


Edward Anthony, E. & H.T. Anthony & Co., Samuel F.B. Morse, National Daguerrian Depot, Anthony's National Daguerrian Depot, John C. Reeve, Estelle Marder, New York City, Columbia College, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, France, Paris, Granite building, Professor , National Miniature Gallery, C.C. Harrison, Cedar, Railroad Depot, Henry, Scovill & Adams Co., Scovill, Binghamton, New York, Camera, Daguerreotype, IG Farben, Louis Daguerre, Photograph, Photographic lens, Photography, View camera