Antique Mahogany and Large Brass Folding Camera, circa 1890s



Rochester Optical Co. "Universal" Camera in 5x7 format. Introduced in 1890, this camera was the first in a string of "English Style" of folding view cameras produced by ROC. These cameras featured minimal weight and dimensions for maximum portability accomplished though clever design. Due to the fine mahogany woodworking and high fit and brass finish to this model, it was ROC's most expensive camera in their catalogue when it was introduced. ROC went on to make and sell many more compact English style cameras into the mid-1890s, such as the Carlton, King, Monitor, Kenwood and Premo View models. The camera collapses down to just 2.75" thick. Comes with a leather lens cap.

  • CREATOR Rochester Optical Co.
  • MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES  Leather, Mahogany, optical glass.
  • CONDITION Excellent. With appropriate patina for age.
  • DIMENSIONS H 9.5 in. x W 9 in. x D 19 in.


The Rochester Optical Company became one of the most dominant and influential camera companies in the 1880's and 90's, prior to the rise of the Eastman Kodak Company.

In 1903 George Eastman purchased the Rochester Optical and Camera Company for $330,000, after it had suffered massive losses due to market conditions and competition. Eastman changed their name back to the Rochester Optical Company.

In 1907 it became the Rochester Optical Division of the Eastman Kodak Company, and then in 1918 the Rochester Optical Department of the Eastman Kodak Company. They continued to produce the Premo line until 1921.

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