Copyright ©2010 by Rob Niederman - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
"The pleasantest photographic companion on a ramble
that we have traveled with." The Patent Bijou was
introduced in 1885 and sold through 1897. It was small in size,
lightweight (14½ ounces), elegant in workmanship (living up to
the Bijou name), and targeted to amateurs wanting to do more
than traditional picture taking.
"Many amateur photographers, after they have overcome the
early difficulties of the art, look around for pieces of apparatus
that are suited to some particular kind of work. Some of them
own magic lanterns and desire to make pictures with a view to
preparing transparencies for projection."
Although E. & H.T. Anthony was regarded as one of the major
American builders of large, professional apparatus, the Patent
Bijou was offered at a time-the mid 1880s-when 3¼ x 4 inch
lantern slides were becoming the preferred format; which was
ideal for a smaller camera:
"As the plate size is the same as those used with magic
lanterns, slides may be made from them by contact printing in
an ordinary frame."
Even after being advertised for nearly eleven years, amateurs'
desires for pictorial representation in the form of
transparencies must not have grown as anticipated and this
appears to be the only example of the Patent Bijou known.
An 1886 reference shows a version with a hinge attached ground-glass
frame, simple brass posts for the lens board, and fixed rear-standard.
By 1895, the $6.75 camera was offered with an optional tilting rear
standard (an extra $2.25), hook locked ground-glass frame, and
reinforced brass posts. However, all versions had folding beds (or rails)
and a fine focusing screw.
The Patent Bijou shown here appears to be a transitional model between
the original and final body patterns. It has open-frame focusing rails,
Anthony styled ground glass frame lock, fixed rear standard, and
non-reinforced brass posts.
Over the years, catalogue listings illustrate cameras with several minor design changes as shown in the illustrations below.
Patent Bijou Camera. 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 inch format.
Small size apparatus for traveling and producing lantern slides.
Patent Bijou Camera, 1885 - 1895
E. & H.T. Anthony & Company, NY.