Back around 1992/3 I was given this
camera by a photographer friend, she said it's no
use to me - you have it. It sat like this on a
mantle piece until May 2010 when I decided on the
spur of the moment to try and restore it.
There was no front standard, a
broken lens board, bellows that had seen their
last days, a broken carrying strap, no focus
screen and some missing screws & brass parts.
A challenge, In addition I had no idea of the make
Stripping the camera down to it's
components, removing the bellows and all the
screws and brass fittings, I cleaned the woodwork,
sanded it down with #400 sand paper and then
applied two coats of French polish. I'd repaired
and polished the lens board some months before
while restring a Thornton Pickard shutter so
already knew how the camera might look.
With the French polish dry and the
Brass work polished the camera was re-assembled.
The next stage was replacing the front standard,
bellows and the missing parts.
First it was necessary to ascertain the shape and
type of fittings needed for the construction of
new front standard. Looking in photography books
from around 1900 there were plenty of wooden
folding cameras most larger or too different, but
one Half-Plate camera was obviously very similar,
and in addition the space the standard has to fit
when folded constrains the overall dimensions,
having to fit with the stabiliser bar etc.
The Pembroke Outfit Half Plate
The front standard of a W. Butcher
& Sons, Half plate camera, showing how the
rise & fall is controlled. However on this
Quarter plate camera the brass plate is attached
to the standard (the opposite way around) and the
knob for tightening is on the bottom of the lens
board panel. It was then possible to have a new
standard constructed based on information gleaned
from these two images and the dimensional
constraint mentioned above. A local joiners made
the new standard fro oak, cutting a grooved
profile to allow the lens board to rise/fall
This keys into the front of the