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Rare & Vintage Cameras


Take a look at 7 of the greatest inventions in the field of photography which has enabled all of us to freeze time and historic moments.

Museo Camera, Gurgaon (Haryana)


The first image of a human being was captured by a huge wooden box like camera invented by Frenchman Louis Daguerre and he named the camera after himself : Daguerreotype


Louis Daguerre, Public domain, via
 Wikimedia Commons



This sliding box camera was made up of two boxes, one of which slides into the other to focus the image. The front box was where the lens was positioned. A second, slightly smaller box was slipped into the first box's rear. When the sensitized plate was placed in the camera, the lens cap would be removed to start the exposure.

Image : NGMA

These light sensitive plates were coated with a thin layer of silver and treated in a confined box with Iodine.  Due to hot fumes of mercury, Daguerreotype took the life of several photographers. 

Image: Seated Woman Wearing Glasses, 1850, CC0, The Met Museum



Ticka Waistcoat & Pocket Camera

Imagine someone standing on a sidewalk, pretending to check the time while really shooting photographs!  

 Designed by Magnus Niell and manufactured by Houghtons, this 17.5 mm roll film camera was produced between 1904-1914, and was arguably the most popular watch-type camera of all time.

Spies, undercover police officers and private-eyes who needed a way to conceal a camera on their body, made a beeline for it. After all, it came with the promise that it would let customers “Take pictures without being detected”. Only three months after its production had started in the UK, Houghtons reported that 10,000 units had already been sold!


Ticka Waistcoat & Pocket Camera

No. 3A Autographic


In 1914, when Henry Gaisman returned from a trip with a set of photographs that he couldn’t recognise, it annoyed him. But he found a solution to write captions on the photographs while clicking the pictures - thus inventing the Autographic Camera.

The No 3A Autographic Kodak Model C had an "autographic film cartridge" on the back of the camera, where you could permanently inscribe details on the film.
Later, in July 1914, Eastern Kodak Ltd paid Gaisman the “remarkable” sum of $300,000 for the patent rights. 

No. 3A Autographic 





Virtual Voyaging was possible in 1920 with this folding camera! It was popular for producing stereographs (3D pictures) that were a rage. It had two identical lenses separated by the same distance as between our eyes.

Image : Akar Prakar Gallery

 Image via Wikimedia Commons [Library of Congress]


Two photographs would be shot at the same time, placed on a card, and examined via a stereo viewer, causing the two images to merge into one with all the depth of the original scene.

This Underwood & Underwood stereograph (c. 1901) shows a woman viewing stereographs in her home.



The K-20 was a handheld manually operated aerial camera used in the military during WWII. Using these cameras on a moving aircraft took a lot of effort - they weighed more than 15 kilos!

Image:  NGMA

image: Atomic Cloud Rises Over Nagasaki, Japan. Photographed by Charles Levy; via Wikimedia Commons [National Archives, College Park]


The camera was built in New York by Folmer Graflex Corp. and captured the catastrophic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki in August 1945. The picture was taken from the gunners' position. 

The Vageeswari was one of the most iconic cameras to be produced in India and was counted amongst the best field cameras in the world. Made in 1942 by K. Karunakaran (only 16 years old then), it revolutionised studio and field photography in the country. 


vageeswari vijay

Vageeswari Vijay

The first camera, made of teak wood & brass (with the lens imported from Germany) was sold for â‚ą250, and went on to rule the market for over four decades. It was named after the family's favourite deity - Saraswati, the goddess of learning).


graflex speed graphic

 -said the celebrated press photographer, Arthur Fellig, a.k.a Weege, who prowled the seedy underbelly of Manhattan’s Lower East Side at night with a Graflex and a flashbulb during the 1930s and 40s.  

 Get a speed Graphic….with a camera like that, the cops will assume that you belong on the scene and will let you get behind police lines.



Truly serious photojournalists used Graflex, despite it being a slow process that took a lot of practice. One had to manually set every exposure and this could be time consuming. If you didn’t pay attention, you could double expose, shoot blanks or shoot out of focus images. 

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