Rochester Universal

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Whiteymorange, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    No real question here, just a happy camper story.

    I have written more than once about my friend Dick Welch and his vast horde of photo "stuff." Last night I was helping him get ready for the PHSNE show and sale today and he suggested that I look around for things to bring to the show. I did and it was a gas. Highlighted, I thought, by a set of Graphlex reflex cameras in various sizes tucked up on shelves hidden behind boxes. We brought a 5x7 in great shape to the show and it got a lot of interest. Bought before the show even opened. As we were beginning to pack his car he thought out loud, " Gee, I wonder what's in this box. I can't remember." We opened the leather covered wooden case and found an 8x10 Universal field camera by the Rochester Optical Company in very nice condition. It has four double plate holders, 8 film sheaths, numerous wooden inserts to allow for the use of smaller format plates and a set of tripod legs, folded up in the case. The tripod has a 1903 patent on it. If this is part of the original set, it would make this camera date to the last year of this model's manufacture and the year that Eastman bought the company. I had to buy it.

    Unfortunately, there was no lens board or lens. The board isn't a problem, I can make some. The lenses I have that cover 8x10, however, are all old brassies. Time to haul out the packard shutter (or the hat, or the patented Galli dark-slide special) and get to work, I guess.

    My first purchased 8x10 - borrowed ones don't count. Zippidy damn doo da!
     
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Whitey-

    cool beans! That sounds like an envy-worthy kit for someone who likes old cameras. Which I do. So you've got at least one jealous creature out here now :smile: Have fun with it!
     
  3. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Congratulations Whitey, the ROC Universal is one of the nicer made cameras of the period, IMO. They are smaller, lighter and just darn well made from what I have seen. Have one that is in need of some TLC, but still worth the small sum it cost.
     
  4. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Ya gonna let some of yer ol' buddies give it a try???? :wink:

    gene
     
  5. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Any time, old buddy. I'll make a lens board to fit any lens you might want to try out as well.
     
  6. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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    I saw Whitey bring in that camera and I knew it would never make it to the "For sale" table :D

    I have some film and holders if you want to try it out sometime. I'm itching to get out and photograph.

    --John
     
  7. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Sorry, John, just couldn't wait. We'll go out and put the field back in this field camera soon -- but I had the time today and just had to try it out. The lens is a B&L Petzval made for Edison Manufacturing and, despite what I've read about them being 4.5 to 5 in. lenses, this one comes in at about a 12.5 in focus. J&C100, Rodinal, 7 minutes in the Beseler color drum. The subject is just what was at hand, my painting palette and brushes.

    The camera is solid, clean and really much more usable than I expected right out of the (old) box. Now to get a lens or two where I don't have to use my hat!
     

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