I was searching for some old 35mm slides the other day and came across this.
It’s an “Ensign” 2-1/2 inch Roll film box camera that was manufactured during the 1930’s.
The front view of this old jewel shows, what I believe could be the place at the top where the insignia may have been at one time. Look at the construction of this thing… nails and screws holding wooden parts together and the use of brass for all the mechanical parts. It’s not in the best of shape anymore, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it could still capture an image or two.
The body and film carrier are shown here. Take a look at the cutout for the lens.
From this angle you get a better look at the construction of the carrier.
Here’s the back and bottom of the film carrier along with the a limited view of the inside back of the body itself.
Something that did surprise me was the controls for this camera. You can just make out the “T” and “S” in the upper oval. Of coarse this corresponds to the “Time Exposure” and the “Snap” function. This in itself was no surprise. But have a look at the lower oval. The lever on top is as you would expect is the trigger. This too is slightly different. In the “S” setting the trigger snaps once in each direction. In other words, pull the trigger down and the shot is taken. The next shot you will be pulling the trigger up in order to activate the shutter. In the “T” setting the trigger automatically resets to its original position after release. Another interesting item is the lower most lever. This camera has three separate aperture setting controlled by pulling or pushing the lever.
Now this is a closer look at the shutter. Look at the arrow. It’s indicating the direction of the trigger. After being activated, it shows an arrow in the opposite direction. But… Where the heck is the lens?? The answer sits with the older style of construction. The lens is housed behind the aperture and shutter mechanisms. The “Eastman” company had invented roll film in 1888, the turn of the century brought about the mass marketed “Browning”, and the 35mm camera came into existence in 1913 – 1914. The Browning didn’t have an aperture control, and I haven’t been successful in my search on the cost of this camera. The Ensign served its purpose quite well. I know exactly where it came from as well as who owned and used it. The shot below was taken with this very camera. On the left is the original shot and to show how it may have looked before becoming stained and creased, I restored it, shown on the right.
On this shot, look at the right hand side of the photo. What do you think she’s holding in her hand…I haven’t touched this photo at all. I’m not sure who took it or with what camera.(yet) But I do know the camera in my Grandmother’s hand is the camera I’ve show-cased here.