ROC Midget - closed
ROC Midget 4x5 inch format. 1890 - 97
ROC Midget - rear view showing ground glass
"The Midget is one of the most compact cameras ever made." Looking somewhat like a small English Compact camera, the Midget has an intriguing folding design in which the entire camera is barely bigger than its glass plate holder. Although the body is quite unusual and has a lot of features, it folds into a very small form for coat pockets (1/4-plate format) or overcoats (4 x 5 inch format).

The Midget is made of polished mahogany with lacquered brass hardware. This example includes its original rotating diaphragm shutter with rapid rectilinear lens. From 1895 onward, the rotating shutter was replaced with Star or Victor models that were standard on ROC's Premo cameras.

While advertised for ladies, tourists, bicyclists, and canoeists, the Midget had relatively high price: $28 in 1894 for the 4 x 5 inch format model shown here (about $787.75 in 2016 adjusted for inflation).

Operationally, the camera is not very 'friendly' and was probably quite difficult to use (i.e. make rigid for sharp pictures). Its cost and odd design might account for the Midget's relative rarity because only a couple examples are known.

There are two accessories that make this an exciting camera, but unfortunately I do not own them. The tripod (sold with the camera) looks like a cane when folded. The second accessory is a leather case which turns the Midget into a concealed 'detective' camera.
Midget, 1890 - 97
Rochester Optical Co., NY
Copyright ©2017 by Rob Niederman - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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