At the end of the 19th century the Wallis Brothers company manufactured a successful line of roller blind, instantaneous and compound shutters. The firm was originally located on Wellington St. in Kettering, United Kingdom in 1899. Another novel product was the firms Daylight Changing Plates. Black paper was attached to the back of the plate so as to protect the other side from light. The firm also produced a popular cyclist map that was housed in a case similar to a roller blind shutter and would attach to the handle of a bicycle. This provided the rider the ability to view the map hands free while riding and to protect the map from the elements.
In 1900 the firm introduced a small quarter plate hand camera called the Penna. The Penna was a strut folding camera designed to showcase their "compound" shutter that provided the ability to perform both high speed work and time exposures in the same camera. This was accomplished by fitting the camera with their two-slit "compound" shutter to a focal plane camera. This camera originally providing speeds up to 1/800th of a second. later models we capable of faster speeds up to 1/1000th of a second. The camera was extremely portable measuring only 1 1/3 inch thick and 8 ounces in weight. Focusing was accomplished by a moveable jacket on the lens. the Penna camera No. 1 was fitted with a Busch Aplanat f6 lens. The No. 2 model with a Beck-Steinheil orthostigmat. The No. 2 also featured a rising front and very light American pattern plate holders. The cameras featured a finder, focusing screen and three double slides. The Penna camera was originally priced at 6 pounds 10 shilling for the No. 1 model and 10 pounds 10 shillings for the no. 2. Advertisement illustrations, based on the etchings grain patterns, appear to depict the camera with a leather covering and also a wood version.
By 1902 the firm moved to Stamford Road Works, Kettering.
1908 was the last mention of the companies existence.
1900 Dec., The Photographic Dealer Magazine, page 151
1901 Mar., The Process Engravers Monthly Magazine, page 85
1901 Vol. 7, The Photogram, page 202.
1902 July, The British Journal of Photography, page 535
1902 July, The Photographic News, page 429
1996 Mar, British Camera Makers, A to Z. Channing & Dunn, Page132
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