Today we are happy to offer for sale a wonderful antique Thornton-Pickard military aerial spotting camera! A bit of info on Thornton-Pickard:
“Thornton-Pickard was a well known British camera manufacturer established in 1888. The company was based in Altrincham, near Manchester, and was an early pioneer in the development of the camera industry.Thornton-Pickard Mark IIIThe Thornton-Pickard company was founded by John Edward Thornton and Edgar Pickard in Manchester, in 1888. The company moved to a new factory at Broadheath, Altrincham in 1891. The innovative “Time & Instantaneous” shutter was designed and patented by Thornton in 1892. This shutter design was also licensed to a number of other camera makers. Some early cameras produced by the company included the “Ruby” and “Amber” models.
In 1897 the company became a limited company, followed shortly afterwards by the sudden death of Edgar Pickard, due to a perforated ulcer. Thornton now found himself in a company dominated by the Pickard family, who he disliked intensely, and shortly afterwards he left. In 1899 he formed a new business partnership with Charles Rothwell, a chemist who shared Thorntons interest in photography. The company was called the Thornton Film Company. In 1913 Thornton emigrated to the United States, and went on to patent a three-colour cine film that was manufactured under license by Eastman Kodak. Thornton eventually returned to England, and died some years later in 1940.
Following the loss of its founders, Thornton-Pickard continued to manufacture cameras. The successful “Imperial Triple Extension” model was introduced in 1913, and continued in production until the 1930s. During the First World War, the company produced a number of cameras for military use, including the Mark III Hythe gun camera. In 1921 the company merged with several others to form Amalgamated Photographic Manufacturers. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the company found it increasingly difficult to compete with cheaper imported cameras, and ceased trading in 1939.”
This great antique camera appears to have been originally part of the larger Mk. III Hythe Camera Gun, which was developed in 1916 at the RFC Machine Gun School. Then the training camera for machine gunners had been produced until 1934 by British camera maker Thornton Pickard. Instead of bullets it shot target checking images in the rhythm of a machine gun.
The camera is finely crafted and detailed and features a square mahogany case body accented with brass hinges and latches. The long camera lens housing is crafted of solid brass. The glass plate measures 4-1/4″ in length by 3-1/4″ in height. The camera is marked on the side with Patent No. 6238.12. This patent covered the shutter mechanism. The camera was used during World War I to for aerial spotting purposes in combat.
Camera presents well and is in very good antique as-found condition, with wear, tarnish and patina commensurate with age and use. To our limited knowledge it appears most components are intact, although we can’t be certain. Camera is in need of a light cleaning and perhaps some restoration if you intend to actually use it. Lens have very minor scattered dust particles. This Thornton-Pickard camera will make an outstanding addition to any fine antique early European camera collection…Fresh to the market!
Measurements: 12-1/2″ in length, 5-1/4″ in width, 6″ in height
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