Copyright ©2012 by Rob Niederman - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
A Novel Approach to Multiplying Camera Design. In
an established market dominated by American Optical,
Anthony, Scovill and Simon Wing, Jacob Schaub tried
to create his own interpretation of a multiplying
camera. It's unclear why he made the effort; maybe
existing designs didn't meet his needs; maybe he
needed something less expensive - we'll never know.
But there you have it, an entrepreneur in Logan, Utah
(that's right ... Utah ... hundreds of miles from the
epicenter of east coast camera makers) going it on his
own. The result is an intriguingly small single lens, rear
shifting design unlike any other.
Three cameras are known; two match the 1900 patent
in appearance and make 24 exposures on a single
plate. The camera presented here is the only example
capable of making 30 images on a plate. It also
represents an improvement over the other two
cameras with the inclusion of a reversing back.
Multiplying Camera Basics There are three basic
types of multi-imaging cameras: multi-lens, shifting
back and/or front, and apparatus with movng backs
and multiple lenses. Multi-lens cameras proved difficult
to use because lenses varied no matter how carefully
they were made and matched to each other.
Additionally, lenses are often the most expensive part
of the camera, and costs increase significantly as
lenses are added.
In contrast, a shifting rear or front design was less
expensive; however, the photographer gave up the
ability to make numerous pictures at the same time.
Regardless of the design, making numerous 'penny
picture' images on a single plate was cost effective
And while other designers used pleated bellows and
scaled up camera bodies for extreme shifting
movements (i.e. very wide backs that were also tall),
Schaub used either a rubberized cloth or leather bag
bellows. This might be the key reason this camera was
made because it creates a smaller overall body
pattern. Was this what he had in mind?
All of Schaub's multiplying cameras have a tall front panel that is a fixed distance from the rear assembly. A rack and pinion focusing knob moves
a basic tube lens back and forth. The lens is looks like a small 1/9-tube for gem images and probably a petzval formulation for portraits.
Inside the front panel is a simple two-blade scissors style shutter. The second, smaller knurled brass knob on the side of the panel manually
opens and closes the shutter for composing and focusing. The small metal nipple at the bottom center of the panel is for a pneumatic bulb and
tube to release the shutter.
Multiplying Camera, c.1900
Jacob Schaub. Logan, Utah
J. Schaub Multiplying Camera
Improved version for 30 exposures on 4 x 5 inch plates
Above Left Aside from the traditional style of reversing ground glass
assembly to change image orientations, the rear standard is a marvel of
engineering for vertical rise-fall and side-to-side shifting of the back. Loading
a plate holder is easily done by pulling on a large 'bale' (the brass rod around
the ground glass) which lifts the ground glass away from the back.
Above Right Making 30 exposures on a 4 x 5 inch plate in a 5 x 6 array
requires special registration hardware so that the entire area of the plate can
be covered. To demonstrate the extreme movements, the camera is shown
with the back adjusted for exposing the lower right portion of the plate.
Below Left and Right The key to making accurate shifting movements that
place small images on a plate without overlapping is based on a novel
registration system. Registration hardware slides inside a u-shaped brass
channel. The number of exposures corresponds to the numbers on the brass
slide and a pin registration system. As shown, the camera can be set up to
shoot 6, 12, 15, 20, 24, or 30 images.
As shown in the far right picture, the slide is positioned with '30' showing and a lever is pushed down to secure the setting. This is done for both
the vertical and horizontal movements. Turning a corresponding brass knob shifts the back to lock into one of 5 or 6 positions vertically or
horizontally. It is the photographers responsibility to keep track of where images were exposed on the plate.
For more information about the builder and his camera, Mike Kessler gave me permission to include an excerpt of his excellent 1983
Photographist article entitled; Jacob Schaub: Portrait of an Inventor