Today we are happy to offer for sale a rare antique Houghton-Butcher Ensign Roll Film Reflex Tropical camera! A bit of info on Houghtons:
The company Houghton or Houghtons, and its successors Houghton-Butcher, Barnet Ensign, Barnet Ensign Ross and Ross-Ensign, was one of Britain’s most successful camera-makers. In 1834 George Houghton joined the Frenchman Antoine Claudet to manage a glass warehouse in London, under the name Claudet & Houghton. It became George Houghton & Son in 1867, then George Houghton & Sons in 1892. The company’s headquarters at 88/89 High Holborn were called Ensign House in 1901, and the production of the roll film brand Ensign began in 1903. The first Ensign logo was a shop sign with the letter “N” inside, and was replaced in 1911 by the name ENSIGN written inside the British marine flag. In 1903, the company was incorporated as George Houghton & Sons Ltd., and in March 1904 it absorbed Holmes Bros. (the maker of the Sanderson cameras), A. C. Jackson, Spratt Bros. and Joseph Levi & Co., to form Houghtons Ltd. The Alliance Roll-film Camera Co. Ltd which Houghtons had an interest in was wound up in 1904, their cameras carried the Ensign name. The new company carried on the production of the smaller companies it had absorbed, and notably continued production of the Sanderson cameras until 1939. In the early 1900s the company built a factory for the production of cameras on the Fulbourn Road in Walthamstow. In 1908 this was the biggest British camera factory. After World War II, the company soon abandoned the sophisticated Ensign Commando rangefinder camera and continued the range of Ensign Selfix and Ensign Autorange folding cameras, while introducing new models like the Ensign Ranger or the Snapper. Among simpler cameras, a new version of the Ensign Ful-Vue was released in 1946, which was further developed to the Ful-Vue Super and Fulvueflex pseudo-TLR. The company stopped making cameras in 1961.
The Houghton-Butcher Ensign Roll Film Reflex Tropical folding camera was part of a range of cameras made in the 1920s by Houghton for 2¼x3¼-inch (6×9 cm) pictures on 120 roll film. The roll film camera is compact and finely crafted and detailed. The piece features a lacquered wood body with brass hardware and leather handle plus a shoulder strap. The bellows are crafted of brown leather. The camera is marked “Ensign Roll Film Reflex Tropical Model/ Patents N. 210531/266494/Made in England by The Houghton-Butcher Mfg Co Ltd”. The lens is marked F7.7 4.25 In Aldis Uno Anastigmat”. Camera presents well and is in good antique as-found condition, with minor wear and patina commensurate with age and use. To our limited knowledge it appears all components are intact. Camera is in need of a light cleaning and perhaps some minor restoration if you intend to actually use it. The corners of the bellows have minor wear/peeling. The front wood panel has a stable age-related fracture. There is minor wear/peeling to leather strap and handle. This wonderful 1920s Ensign Tropical camera will make an outstanding addition to any fine antique early European camera collection. Fresh to the market!
Measurements: 5-1/8″ in height, 5″ in width, 4″ in depth, 7-1/2″ in length (fully opened)
© 2018 RI Antiques Co