Mignon Bicyclists' Camera (attributed). c.1886
Mignon Bicyclists' Camera with wooden case and plateholders. 3¼" x 4¼" format
Copyright ©2016 by Rob Niederman - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Return to the View Cameras page
Multi-Lens Cameras | View Cameras | Self-Casing Cameras | Solid Body Cameras | References & Advertisements
Home | What's New | Show Schedule | Wanted | For Sale | Links | Site Map | Email
Mignon Bicyclists' Camera, c.1886
American Optical Company, Scovill Mfg. Co., New York
"So popular has amateur photography become among wheelmen that the two amusements are now often combined. The "Wheel" allows unbounded opportunities to the amateur photographer to gather choice landscape views." - Scovill Amateur Supplies

The Mignon Bicyclists' Camera is a very small American field camera (front focusing pattern) making 3¼" x 4¼" images on glass plates. I was baffled by it for a long time and then realized it could be a Mignon based on catalogue descriptions. At this time, I know of no other examples of this cute camera.

This fine-looking camera is constructed of beautifully polished mahogany and includes a high quality Darlot 3-lever brass bound lens, two-section wooden case and five plate holders.

The Mignon Bicyclists' Camera appeared in catalogues from about 1885 into the early 1890s and, as with the Anthony Bicycle Camera, it is odd that it also could be the only known example. At this point my opinion is that these really early bicycle cameras didn't appeal to cyclists.

Price of a complete "photo-outfit" (lens, universal joint bicycle attachment and canvas saddle bag) was $70 in 1886; about $1,862 in 2015 currency. It was a very pricy outfit at the time! Maybe the cost was simply too steep for touring cyclists. By 1888, the outfit price dropped to $50.