This Lancaster Instantograph is a 1/4-plate model complete with
Lancaster's Patent Intantaneous Lens and scarce rubberband shutter.
It is a robust camera made of polished mahogany and a brass bound
rear standard to provide additional strength. The red bellows is a
double extension, tapered square cut design. A manufacturer's
reference for Lancaster's Instantograph can be seen in the 19th
Century Camera Advertising page or click on the image.
Lancaster's Instantograph series was appealing to advanced amateurs
such as the English photographer James Coventry. Mr. Coventry was
a gifted amateur photographer, active in the 1890s and early 1900s,
who used a 1/4-plate Lancaster Instantograph similar to the camera
A monograph about James Coventry by Gerald Ponting and Anthony Light entitled “James Coventry - Gentleman Photographer” was
released on October 2, 1999. The book is a rich chronical about James Conventry's photography and late victorian English Life. Follow this
link for more information about the this fascinating study.
The 1/4-plate Instantograph is very small for a view camera (about the same size as the 1/4-plate Le Merveilleux) and well suited for field
use. It's body walls and bed have the same thickness as the larger 1/2-plate model -- making it a rugged little camera. Included with the
camera is a changing box that allowed dry-plates to be transferred between the storage box and plateholders without the aid of a
darkroom. Special dry-plate holders incorporated a sliding door allowing the glass plates to be transfered to and from the changing box.