Century Master Studio Camera made by Graflex - date?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by sionnac, May 2, 2006.

  1. sionnac

    sionnac Member

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    I was wondering if anyone was familiar with this camera (which has a 5 x 7 ground glass but could easily accommodate 8 x 10). The stand (a hand-cranked platform that is raised and lowered) says Eastman Kodak Co., Century Studio Stand 4A. The camera was made by Graflex in Rochester, and has a plate with "Century Master Studio Camera" (no number). We're going to try and fit it with a lens that it might have had when made, and any info about dates (or resources) would be most welcome.
     
  2. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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    Here is a link that might help http://www.fiberq.com/cam/cent.htm.

    Did you buy this at the recent Photographica show? There was one for sale as you described with a huge stand and it was bought in the first 2 hours of the show.

    --John
     
  3. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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  4. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    You've got quite a range of usable lenses: any 1900 lens and later is perfectly fine.

    A Boston shooter might have a locally made Pinkham & Smith. A nice B&L Tessar was a popular choice for shooting in window light studios, and an exceedingly well heeled photographer may have gone for a Portrait Unar, or even a Cooke.

    Resist the urge to get a lens obsolete by the time this camera was new. A good Tessar can be focussed and shot with sensitivity... and ease.


    Got a picture ?
     
  5. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    McKeown's Cameras says Folmer & Schwing Co., Rochester, was Kodak's label from 1905 to 1907. Then it became Folmer & Schwing Division ot of Eastman Kodak until 1917 and then Folmer & Schwing Department of Eastman Kodak Co. until becoming Folmer-Graflex corporation in 1926. Thus, Dagors, Tessars, and their contemporaries would be authentic.
     
  6. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    The Century Master Studio Camera is really nothing but one of the best lens platforms ever. The correct lens was whichever one got the job done nicely for what the photographer was assigned. Someone shooting catalog pages would want something different than someone shooting portraits. Or both might have found that a Bausch & Lomb Tessar suited the jobs grandly. If it's for display, try to find a big black late Wollensak Vitax #3. If you have your heart set on brass, Cooke was about the only one left finishing them that way in the mid to late '20's. They're expensive. I have a 19" B&L Tessar you can have fairly cheaply. Can't remember what I paid but $155 would satisfy me. It's a street car headlamp proportionate to the camera.
     
  7. sionnac

    sionnac Member

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    Hi John - It was my boss, Helen, who bought the camera for the bookshop (www.rarebook.com). I'd like to fit it out so that we can use it; I'll take into consideration the good advice given above. It is part of our collection of early photographica, which until now has been books and photos. !!! I was surprised but glad to have adopted such a great studio camera. Maybe we'll paint some backdrops and open a portrait studio :smile:
     
  8. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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    I am glad you got it and it will be used..it's a beauty.
     
  9. Michelle Eversoll

    Michelle Eversoll Member

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    I have this camera with stand and lens. In fact I have two stands. I am wanting to sell and have had some interest but have no idea what it is worth. The camera is in great condition. I have an antique dealer that wants to pay only $200.
     
  10. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    Sionnac, I have the same camera but no stand. I concur with Jimgalli in that it is a superb camera, as long as portability is not an issue. I use every imaginable lens on the thing. It lives in my classroom and, in its handsomely retro glory has tempted many a young lad to try his hand at shooting a portrait of his friend on 8x10 paper. From there it's a short walk to the darkroom and before you know it he's hooked!

    Michelle. If you are anywhere near Boston, MA I am anxious to speak with you about your extra stand. I haven't been able to find one, and though making one from scratch is possible (big woodshop, lots of hardwood, lots of help) I haven't got a lot of time for a project of that size right now. This camera deserves a fitting stand.
     
  11. Michelle Eversoll

    Michelle Eversoll Member

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    Sorry, l live in Iowa
     
  12. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    Ah well...
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Post your question on graflex.org. The numbers on Graphics and Graflexes allow approximate manufacture dating.

    Steve
     
  14. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Steve- this is no Graflex. It's a massive portrait camera that takes an 8" lensboard. They don't have serial #s. I thought I had a picture of mine in my gallery, but I seem to be mistaken.
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    not sure about the serial numbers but this catalog from 1908 should show you what they look like

    http://www.historiccamera.com/cgi-bin/librarium/pm.cgi?action=display&login=centuryprodline
    http://www.historiccamera.com/cgi-bin/librarium/pm.cgi?action=display&login=centuryprodline

    as for your stand's worth ...

    not sure, but if it is a semi - centennial stand,
    it was the rolls royce of camera stands ( and probably still is ! )
    when it was new ( 1890 ) it was shipped in a 90lb box and cost $25 :smile:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=irYaAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA181&d#v=onepage&q&f=false
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    But it was made by the Century Bike company which turned into the Graflex et al company. Hence, some of the people at graflex.org are very knowledgeable about the Century cameras and their history.
     
  17. ADITYA ARYA

    ADITYA ARYA Member

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    Hi are you still selling this camera?
    or is it sold?