Thursday, September 12, 2013
Ak-sar-ben 8x10 Camera, 1897
Ak-sar-ben, (Nebraska), 1897
This camera has so far only been found to be advertised in the catalog of R. Dempster, Omaha, Nebraska, c.1897. The large, wooden side plates are quite distinctive and unique, as are the folded brass springs holding the ground glass frame, which probably means that this camera was a Dempster product manufactured locally. In case you were wondering, Ak-Sar-Ben is the name of a certain state spelled backwards.
Hand Cameras, Kodaks and Supplies, R. Dempster (Omaha, NE), 1897, p. 39
I have been lucky enough to find one of these cameras for sale and have been fitting it out.
This is the 126 year old Ak-sar-ben shown as it is ready to use! There are two lenses I have for it to date.
One is an Eskofot 150mm, which actually covers 8x10! This camera has a very short rail so the rail showing up in the frame is not a problem. I have installed a yellow filter and have a lenscap ready to go. The other lens is a Rank, Taylor and Hobson 8 1/2" (225mm) that has a lowest aperture of 4.5! It should make for some interesting possibilities in limited light.
The back of this lens is threaded so I could mount a yellow filter on the back , lenscap on the front which I have done before. To put the quick release on this non standard camera I had to buy a longer that usual screw for it and file it down at the base so it would fit into the shoe mount. Took about 2 days to do all the lens mounting and camera prepping. Lets hope this thing works!