Trade Cards with Camera Obscuras in our Collection

We have added a number of advertising trade cards that show a camera obscura. On the right is the only one that advertises a camera obscura builder. Also shown on the page of lost US park camera obscuras, the pink card shows a line cut of a typical design of a 19th century free standing park camera obscura building. It seems likely that it was produced in the 1870s or 80s when there was a camera obscura in Central Park in New York. Below is an enlargement of the text at the bottom of the card.

The trade card below advertises B. F. Gould, a dealer in paper goods in Boston, Massachusetts. The front of the card shows a uniformed young person with a flag and drum and a range of birds and animals. The back of the card advertises "The Wonderful Camera Obscura, or Nature's Magic Mirror" and locates it at the "Rear B. & M. Depot". We assume that this camera obscura was located in or near Boston in the 19th century but have not been able to identify the exact camera obscura advertised.
The card below is a light weight advertising card with no date for Italiana Liebig. We have a number of 19th century Liebig cards that show photographers. This card, showing Leonardo Da Vinci with a simple "through the wall" camera obscura, and the card on the right both appear to be 20th century advertising cards by the meat extract producer. The first trade card we found came with a set of Italiana Liebig cards, Serie N. 288 on the history of photography. It shows an 18th century painter working inside a camera obscura cabinet with a patron. Other cards in the set appear to date from the 1950s.
The card below shows Joseph Nicephore Niepce, the man that most historians credit with making the first permanent photograph in 1827. His portrait shares the card with a cutaway of a camera obscura building. It appears to be a German cigarette advertising card for Enver-Bey Zigarettenfabrik that features inventors. There is no date on the card but other advertising cards by this company are dated from the 1930s.

While the card on the left links the camera obscura to the invention of photography the card below makes the connection with the birth of television. Issued by The Imperial Tobacco Co. in Great Britain it is part of a series of 50 cards on the century 1837– 1937. It was appears to have been issued in 1937. It compares the 19th century entertainment from the camera obscura with the 20th century miracle of television. It shows the interior of a camera obscura pared with a Marconi-E.M.I. television camera.


Magic Mirror of Life Home Page and Site Map

What is a camera obscura?

Why we created this site

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 < You are here
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
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 10/2004