I have always been intrigued by the life history of some of the items in my camera collection. However it is unusual to be able to establish previous ownership. Occasionally cheap folding cameras may have the owners name and address written inside the case.
Recently I bought a brass rapid rectilinear lens of 5x7 coverage. It was Inscribed 'Chevalett, Opticien, Paris Rapid Rectilinear 5x7' and ' PACKER Hanley '.
I was unable to find out much about the Chevalett Optician in Paris. However a speculative Google search turned up some listings from the Staffordshire Photographers Index drawn from Trade Directories (1861-1940). It would seem that this lens was previously owned by Frederick G Packer of 34 Pall Mall Hanley, Stafforshire, United Kingdom. His studio was listed as active in 1896.

I was for some reason ridiculously pleased about this, so much so that I feel impelled to pass on the news.
It joins only two other items in my collection with a known provenance. I have a 270mm f6 Cooke Aviar Series IIIB previously owned by a gentleman named Geoff Senior who specialised in automobile photography. Also a 1939 Leica III with the name ' Otto Muller ' scratched onto the baseplate. I would love to know where that camera has been.

Anyone else have items of interesting provenance that they would like to share?Attachment 83267