Blair's Reversible Back Camera is a traditional front
focusing field view camera offered in the 1890s. In
its basic form, the camera has all the traditional
features photographers needed such as rise/fall front
standard, tilting rear standard, folding rails, and a
reversing back for portraits and landscapes without
having to rotate the entire apparatus.
This outfit is unique in that it also includes an
extended rail system and Blair's patented extension
back. Several different backs that could upgrade a
camera to the next larger format were offered. The
extension back shown here upgrades the 4 x 5 inch
camera to a 5 x 7 format.
The idea of changing formats on a single body was
not new and featured on Anthony's Patent Duplex
Novelette Camera in the 1880s.
However Blair's approach was significantly simpler in
that only the backs were swapped. In contrast, the
back and bellows had to be exchanged as a single
unit on the Duplex Novelette.