LARGEST PHOTOGRAPH IN WORLD IS TAKEN IN TONOPAH BY CAMERA MANUFACTURED IN THIS CAMP

Discussion in 'Panoramic Cameras and Accessories' started by jimgalli, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    From June 24 1913 Tonopah Bonanza:

    LARGEST PHOTOGRAPH IN WORLD IS TAKEN IN TONOPAH BY CAMERA MANUFACTURED IN THIS CAMP

    After laboring for 6 months and incurring an expense of $3000 F. W. Sheelor of Tonopah has constructed the largest panorama camera in the world, and the first picture, which also has the distinction of being the largest ever taken is now on exhibition. The picture is 12 feet 3 inches in length and 25 inches in width and shows a panoramic view of Tonopah district with over 2 miles of territory being clearly defined.

    Sheelor is originally from Sisson Calif., and about six months ago started work upon the construction of what he declares to be the largest camera in the world. For a number of years he offered manufacturing firms a fancy price to make such a picture taking machine but the offer was refused. Every piece of the camera was made in Tonopah, except the lens, which was imported from Germany. The progress was necessarily slow, and it was not until a short time ago that the work was completed.

    Last Thursday Sheelor carried the camera to the top of mount Brougher. The outfit was conveyed to the mountain top in sections and late in the afternon it was set up and the picture was taken. The sweep of the machine includes views starting below the Extension mine and ending with the old high school building. Practically every mining company in the district is included in the view while every building in the city stands out in prominence. The picture is clear in detail and shows people walking about the streets in every part of town. Two pedestrians are to be observed walking along the railroad track near the Montana mine practically a mile from the point where the view was taken, showint the clear manner in which objects were brought out.

    One of the views has been purchased by H H Bacon and is now attracting attention at his place of business. It was inspected by a large number of people yesterday and declared to be a work of art.

    Sheelor will leave shortly for Montana where he is under contract to take photographs for several of the leading railroads crossing that state and will probably use his new camera during the trip. The films used in the machine are of special manufacture and are imported from France.

    The machine can take a picture 36 feet in length, which means a complete circle. The width will be the same in all pictures, or 25 inches. The mechanism is so adjusted that any fraction of the 36 feet of film can be exposed.
     
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Sounds like a very large curciut camera using 25" wide film.

    Any examples of the image still in Tonopah? I passed thru there a couple weeks ago and would have stopped if I could have seen one.

    Vaughn
     
  3. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Hey, you're not allowed to pass through Tonopah without giving me a holler and saying 'hi'. Yes, the photo is displayed prominently in our museum. Next time we'll go have a look. :wink:
     
  4. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    I thought the largest photograph in the world was much larger, something like 100 feet by 30 feet, and was taken in an aircraft hanger in southern California. The hanger was used as a camera oscura, and the image projected onto light sensitive cloth. I believe the hanger was later torn down, so the photo Jim is referring to may be the world's largest photo made by a non-disposable camera.
     
  5. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    This claim was made in 1913. The hanger thing was pretty recent.
     
  6. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Missed the line with 1913. Any idea what happened to the camera? Hopefully it's in a museum somewhere.
     
  7. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Caught me up way too late. The camera has been found derelict in Alaska. The foundry that produced it still exists but we believe drawings etc were probably lost in a 1914 fire. The wood patterns for the forgings if used may very well exist if I knew what I was looking for. Fascinating to dream about. 22" roll film from France, now that could be a problem. I'll bet Adox could make us some. Anybody got a 30" Dagor to donate for the cause?
     
  8. Don12x20

    Don12x20 Member

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    Jim
    Was this that camera found under the skating rink along with a lot of films -- the ice rink was thawed and the items found.....It was an oversized Cirkuit.
     
  9. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Next time!

    I was with the family...I usually don't drop in on folks I don't know when I have the whole crew. We left Utah that morning and were heading to Lee Vining Canyon to set up camp before dark. But we had long break at Catherdral Gorge State Park (Nevada). The boys had a great time running all about and I got a few good photos with my miniature camera (Rolleiflex) -- just developed a roll of 20-year-out-of-date Tech Pan from there. A little extra base fog, but looks fine to me.

    Vaughn
     
  10. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Hadn't heard the skating rink story. Is that the one Ron Klein has?
     
  11. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    Not to muddy the waters more, but are you thinking of the swimming pool in Dawson City? Because that was movie film from the teens and twenties. I think...
     
  12. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Let's see now... World's (second) largest camera was found in the muddy waters of a thawed skating rink/swimming pool along with all of it's movie film? Have I got that right?
     
  13. panoramic

    panoramic Member

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    Sheelor's Big camera

    I own the big 22 inch cirkut camera that Floyd Shellor had made in Tonopah, or at least I own what's left of it.

    The camera is missing the lens, bellows, and turntable, but I do have the tripod, basic camera body, and the film magazine with one empty spool of film. It's a long story as to how I found it. Basically the stars were in perfect alignment when I found myself in a very wet and falling down warehouse in Skagway Alaska. You would not believe the amount of old rotting junk in the place and most of it was wet from the leaking roof. The camera only looks like a beat up suitcase and it was underneath a huge pile of stuff that included a broken toilet bowl. I was able to INSTANTLY identify it as a cirkut camera because I own a #16 camera and more than several #10 cameras as well as at least one of all the other sizes. That's the odd part of the story. How was it possible that I could end up in a town I don't live in, find my way into an old warehouse and spot the rarest panoramic camera in the world that should have been in Arizona, not Alaska?

    Shellor was in Alaska but never used the big camera here or at least nothing has ever shown up as far as actual photos.

    I'm about to leave on a long trip driving a 1929 model A Ford to Valdez Alaska and back to Juneau (1,600 miles). When I get back I'll try to post pictures of Shellor's monster camera.

    In the meantime I've posted a picture of his business card that pretty much say's it all, and a photo of Floyd later in life with another big camera that he made. That one doesn't appear to be panoramic but does look like it is setting on a #16 cirkut turntable.

    More later if I make it back to town, we had fresh snow on the mountains yesterday (July 27) it could be a long drive in my old touring car that is packed with a lot of LF camera gear. I'm driving alone so if I break down my plan is to drag everything into the brush and bury it, then hitchhike to the next town. That should make a great discovery in the future for someone else if I don't make it back. Oh, I will be sure to make a really ambiguous map to confuse everyone even more.

    Anyhow, enjoy the photo and business card.

    Ron Klein
    Juneau, Alaska
     

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  15. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Wonderful pictures...

    I am amazed the tripod actually looks quite ordinary. The weight of this monster must be enormous. I have seen pictures of huge camera's on the back of a truck...

    Last year, in the Antwerp museum of photography, there was a camera on display with a bellows of about 3 to 4 meters and a groundglass of probably 1 x 1.25 meter... the extendible bed the camera parts were fixed on almost looked like a car chassis...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2008
  16. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Ron, I lived in Juneau for 4 yr. What a beautiful place. God I miss it at times. But good luck driving in there since there are no roads into Juneau. So I assume you mean you'll be using the Alaskan Marine Highway ( ferry). A great way to travel and very affordable, at least it was back in the early 90's. While in Juneau stop into The Red Dog Saloon, order the halibut, its fantastic. Robert
     
  17. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    Please do, and have nice trip.

    Godspeed/
    Claes
     
  18. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Oops, Sorry Ron, I just noticed you are from Juneau. So you're well aware of what's there. Disregard
     
  19. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    These gentlemen have a a bone to pick with the editor of the Tonopah Bonanza. :smile:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Who knows what treasures we will find under the North Pole when it melts... All those cameras that Santa kept in cold storage because some of you were naughty when you should have been nice...
     
  21. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    Barry:

    Isn't this the camera that was hauled around via flatcar to take a photo of a train?
     
  22. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    Yes, it was commissioned by the Chicago and Alton Railway to promote a new train. The camera was built in Chicago and the photographer was George R. Lawrence--a very interesting guy. The size of the plate was 8 x 4 1/2 feet.
     
  23. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    Sounds really great. I need a print to go in the living room. Can he get matting and a frame to match the pattern in my couch?

    Seriously, sounds like a labor of love.

    How does he mount and display this size image?
     
  24. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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  25. panoramic

    panoramic Member

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    Check out this business card....

    Here's another business card from my collection.

    And you might like my website about the George Lawrence San Francisco project.

    www.RonKleinPhotos.com

    Ron in Alaska
     

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  26. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    This about the size of the camera I saw in the photo museum in Antwerp. Maybe a bit smaller, but not much looking at the photograph you posted... an incredible machine. The camera was part of the AGFA-GEVAERT camera collection (Agfa Photo-Historama), which was divided into the cameras going to Antwerp, while the photographs of that collection ended up in Keulen.