The only known version of a 4x5 Henry Clay Regular Camera.
Includes a small Prosch Triplex 00 shutter and Beck wide angle lens.
Henry Clay Cameras are rare items most often found in the
5 x 7 inch format. This Henry Clay Regular Camera is a fine
example of the only known 4 x 5 inch format.
Similar to the earlier The Henry Clay Camera, this 'Regular'
is constructed of highly polished mahogany with brass
trim, has the distinctive reflex finder mounted above the
lens on the front standard, and incorporates all the well
known swings, tilts and shifts.
Unlike the 5 x 7 inch model also shown on this website,
this "Regular" features a hinged drop bed design that
replaced the earlier sliding bed version in 1892. (Refer to
"Assessment Of The Sliding Drop-Bed Design" link at the
bottom of this page).
A thick, fine-quality brown leather covers this "Regular"; it
is very unusual for a folding camera and more than likley a
custom order. As a note, it was common for the American
Optical Company to accept custom orders in addition to
their standard camera configurations.
Part of the richness of collecting comes from obtaining
accessories that may have been included with the camera
at the time of its purchase. Short of having the actual
images the new owner may have taken, accessories
provide an insight as to how the camera was likely used.
The owner of this "Regular" may have had an interest in taking a variety of picture styles including landscapes, street scenes, and action. For
landscape and architectural work, the camera includes a Beck "Autograph" wide angle lens. When not in use, the wide angle lens is screwed into a
lens ring mounted in the upper left corner of the inner body.
Also included is a second coiled brass spring for the Prosch Triplex Shutter -- seen on the right inner body wall. The extra spring is made of a heavier
gage wire to tension the shutter for faster shutter speeds, which would be ideal for action pictures. Even though Prosch made a specialized shutter
for sports called the "Athlete," a second shutter spring is more convenient to carry than a second shutter/lens combination.
The Henry Clay Regular Camera, c.1896 American Optical Co., Scovill & Adams Co., props, NY.
To accommodate the shorter lens, a second focusing
scale was attached to the right focusing rail.
Henry Clay Regular shown with the Beck 4" Wide
Angle lens mounted; uses the scale on the right
focusing rail. A flat brass spring located on the
bed serves as a stop to correctly position the
focusing rails for use with the wide angle lens.