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  1. #1

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    New here with question

    Does someone have a link that can quickly identify a Burke and James Camera? My mother picked one up for me at an estate sale (I collect vintage) but cannot find where to accurately date or identify this one. It would APPEAR to be a B&J 1940 portrait camera.. it's wooden with metal (not brass) hinges and knobs - has an Ilex lens.. I thought it was a field camera but read that these were generally battleship grey, this one is a deep brown wood, maybe mahogany, and does not appear to have ever been painted. Any help would be appreciated..

    Thanks!

    ~Heather

  2. #2
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Hi Heather,

    Welcome to APUG. Good to have you here.

    If you haven't already seen these, here are both the 1938 and 1942 Burke & James sales catalogs, each in two parts. Perhaps you can find your camera in one of these?

    Burke & James 1938 Catalog, Part 1 of 2
    Burke & James 1938 Catalog, Part 2 of 2

    Burke & James 1942 Catalog, Part 1 of 2
    Burke & James 1942 Catalog, Part 2 of 2

    Hope these might help.

    Ken
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 08-19-2012 at 01:08 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Fixed typo...
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  3. #3

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    It looks like the Watson 5x7, but it doesn't say Watson anywhere - On the front of the camera is a metal plate that is stamped "Burke & James, Chicago" and under one of the wooden panels there's the number 1045 stamped onto the wood. Otherwise I don't see any identifiers.. Just stumped.

  4. #4
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Welcome to APUG

    If possible please post photographs of the camera.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  5. #5
    fotch's Avatar
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    Hello Heather and welcome to APUG.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  6. #6

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here are some images of the camera - Thanks for the welcome!

  7. #7
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Looks like a Watson to me. I've had B&J Grovers, Rembrandts, Princetons, and Commercial Views and yours doesn't match any of those.

  8. #8
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    I'm not an antique camera specialist, but I have to agree with smieglitz. Yours looks similar to the 5x7 Watson Portrait Camera at the top of (PDF) page 17 in the 1942 catalog, part 2 of 2. But it looks identical to the same model at the top of (PDF) page 29 in the 1938 catalog, part 2 of 2.

    Specifically, the metal reinforcing bar across the top of the front standard and the 5-screw flat metal baseplate at the bottom (where your image #5 shows the Burke & James stamp) are both shown in the 1938 model, but not shown in 1942.

    And looking at the 1938 version, is that your lens I see listed as a LUXOR 7½ in. F:7.5 for the princely sum of $23.50? (Listed under RECOMMENDED LENSES... in the right-hand column. Not the 7¼ inch listed on the left for the same price. A catalog misprint, perhaps?)

    Ken
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 08-20-2012 at 12:28 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  9. #9

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    I thought the same thing - that it was a Watson - only issue being that all the ones I've seen online have a nameplate that says "Watson" on it, and this one didn't have any marking.. Maybe this is an earlier model than the ones I saw when I google searched it? The lens is in Ilex 7 1/2" f:7.5 5x7 Special Anastigmat.

  10. #10
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Where have you seen the nameplate located on other samples? Could it have been removed at some point in the past from your sample?

    Regarding the lens and shutter, maybe some of the more knowledgable posters on those topics will chime in. The lens specs themelves appear to match. But I don't know if an Ilex shutter and the term "Universal shutter" are describing the same or different shutter types.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

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