cameras that took 4x5 plates ( dry plates )
were around in the 1880s / 1890s easy ...
i have a few of them. they have "instantaneous" shutter speeds
that would have been anywhere between 1/15-1/60th S...
no megaphone would be needed ...
i have shot wet plate collodion in direct sun in NY for 1 sec. at f16. most of the lenses at that time were f3- f8. being the photo is from 1887 or so they were probably using dry plates which were WAY faster than collodion. it would have been very easy to produce the photo....with or without a mega phone.
I looked at the images on the page http://www.wickheritage.org/johnston...y.asp?catid=55 and indeed there is a picture of the Wick Harbour c1862, however, the rest of the images look to be from much later in time. Based on the type of steam ships I'd say many of the other images are from 1900 to 1920s.
From about 1905 onwards sailing Fifies were gradually fitted with engines and converted to motorised vessels.--wiki
Thanks everyone for your responses. I'll be passing on this info to the people at the Heritage Centre. It's amazing to find out how quickly the technology developed, and how quickly the new techniques were readily adopted by photographers of the time.
There is also the 1/125 Galli shutter, or similar that could have been used with appropriate light and plate. Photographers are an improvisational lot.
(Unless you drop the darkslides!)
Graflex and Graphic focal plane shutters from the 1900's could shoot at 1/1000 seconds. Some focal plane shutters were even faster then. See:
The Evolution and Demise of the Larger Format Press Cameras by Reg Holoway
The All-american Cameras a review of GRAFLEX by Richard P. Paine
I'm sure it's a dryplate, with an early shutter, like people are saying above. Prosch invented a popular shutter around 1886, and before that there were "drop" shutters. The dryplate era really made photography easy and popular with amateurs.