The "Duchess"

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A Houghtons "Duchess" Half Plate camera - my latest restoration project

Seen here prior to a light restoration. As the camera is in reasonable condition it just needs a little French polish and the brass work cleaning and polishing. The original brass tripod ring is missing from the bottom so a plate will be needed with a modern tripod socket. In addition a second back will be fabricated to allow the use of modern 5"x4" film holders, & later possible a third back for 7"x5".

Manufactured between 1906 & 1920 by Houghtons Ltd of High Holborn, London, the "Duchess" camera was part of a range that included the "King", "Queen", "Empress", "Victo", "Victo-Superb", and "Tropical Victo".

The company also manufactured a wide range of other types of camera as well as the Sanderson range of cameras. Later they merged with Butchers to form Houghton-Butcher eventually changing their name to Ensign and manufacturing precision range finder roll film like the Commando as well as budget cameras like the Ful-Vue until the early 1960's.

There were no lens panels so two new ones are being fabricated.

The original focus screen had obviously been broken and replaced by a rather poor attempt at a home made screen, this was removed, the edges cleaned up and then re-ground.

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