The business was originally founded by Mr. C. R. Selce in 1880 and continued until 1888 when Mr. F. R. Barker was admitted as a partner and the business name briefly changed to "Selce & Barker". Selce however retired shortly after the partnership in October of the same year and Mr. N. W. Starbird entered the business.
The firm of Barker & Starbird was established in 1888 at 56 Bromfield street in Boston, massachusetts. The business continued as trade agents and manufacturers of photographic supplies and apparatus. Among the firms offerings included silver paper. chautauqua plates, high quality "Eurygraph" lenses with iris diaphragms. lower quality "Amatuer" lenses and a line of "Our Own" supplies including camera outfits, chemicals, and equipment. F. R. Barker was a native of Boston and was formerly in the "Starch" business with his father on commercial street. Mr. N.W. Starbird was a buyer for the Danvers hospital at Danvers, Mass., and was born Boston.
In approximately 1889, the Bromfield detective hand camera was introduced . It was a 4 x 5 leather covered box fitted with a Eurygraph lens with a four-leaved shutter. The camera had two finders and two right angle levels. The set, spring, release and focusing lever were all underneath the box. Inside were compartments for the diaphragms and lens hood, along with ample room for six double holders. It was fitted with three light weight Scovill holders and was priced at $50.00.
In 1900 Mr. N. W. Starbird announced the dissolution of the partnership of the oldest photo-supply store in Boston and He alone continued operation of the store at 56 Bromfield street as N.W. Starbird & Co.
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