Some Metal Box Camera Obscuras from our Collection

Although most box camera obscuras are made of wood they can be made in other materials. On this page are two of our metal instruments.

The tin camera obscura with a sliding lens tube seen on the right has a brown tortoise shell finish and cloth inserts on the door over the viewing glass. It is not marked but we have seen the same camera identified as "Ernst Plank" a well known German toy maker. Very old paper labels on the top and front with hand written numbers support the information given by an English dealer that it had once been in a European museum collection.

This type of instrument would seem more suited for decorating a drawing room than for serious use by an artist for drawing.

This 8" X 5" X3" tin camera shown below is japanned black with gold trim. It focuses by moving the lens in and out. Called "The Young Artist's Sketching Camera" it was given as a premium for selling the Youth's Companion magazine in the late 19th century. It was made by Perry Mason & Co., Boston. On the right is an ad from the magazine. Although the picture appears to be an earlier wood model the text describes it as "greatly improved, being made of tin, japanned, and ornamented in gilt." Wish we could have bought it for the $1.00 plus 35 cents postage!

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What is a camera obscura?

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Camera Obscura (please check this page before sending email questions)

Links and a Bibliography about the camera obscura

Map and illustrated diary of
our visits to
US camera obscuras

Map and illustrated diary of
our 1996 trip to
Great Britain camera obscuras

Images of camera obscuras from our collection.

Some Images from our collection
The Camera Obscura at War
Advertising flyer for a Camera Obscura
Trade Cards with Camera Obscuras
Lost UK Seaside Camera Obscuras
Other Lost UK Camera Obscuras
Lost US Seaside Camera Obscura
Lost US Park Camera Obscuras
Melville Garden Camera Obscura
Other Lost US Camera Obscuras
Lost European Camera Obscuras
No, it's not a camera obscura

Portable and box camera obscuras from our collection.
Wooden Camera Obscuras
Metal Camera Obscuras < You are here
Camera Obscuras with the Lens at the Top
Cardboard Camera Obscuras
A French Artist's Camera with supplies
Vermeer's Camera, a 1934 teaching camera
Camera Obscura Publications

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Modified 6/2005