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  Monroe Camera Company History

The Monroe Camera Company was founded in 1897 and incorporated by its president Fred A. Sherwood, vice-president Albert Beir, and the secretary-treasurer Charles V. Case. Only Albert Beir had experience in the camera making business prior to the Monroe company startup in 1896. The Monroe Camera Company conducted business from 48 Stone Street in Rochester New York. The company was named after Monroe County. The Company made Monroe branded cameras in many sizes and different patterns on the lines of the very popular hand folding cameras. In 1898 the company advertised that they were producing 22 styles and sizes of cameras.

The Company became widely popular mainly due to their Monroe No. 2 pocket camera line. They incorporated a unique compact design that extended by simply pulling out the front and back connected by bearers on what was called a lazy tongs pattern. The half plate camera when closed measured only 5 by 4.5 by 2 inches and easily fit into any pocket. This was most likely the first of the compact dry plate pocket cameras incoporating the lazy tongs bed extension design.

In 1899 Monroe Camera continued to expand in Europe through British agents Goldman & Company located at 2 Old Street London EC. Goldman & Co carried and sold all of the Monroe camera company�s products.

In 1899 the Monroe camera company merged with the Rochester Optical Co. lead by H.B. Carlton. The consolidation and included the Ray Camera Company, the Rochester Camera and Supply Co., the Western Camera Manufacturing Co. of Chicago and the manufacturing portion of the EH & T Anthony Company into a group called the Rochester Optical and Camera Company, that was capitalized at $3,500,000.

In 1900 it was recorded that the European operations were succeeded by the Columbia Optical and Camera Company, which moved into larger premises at 42 Goswell Rd, London, E.C.

-Kingslake, Rudolf, 1974, "The Rochester Camera and Lens Companies", Rochester NY, Photographic Historical Society.
-The process engraver's monthly, Volume 6, 1899
-The Process Photogram, Volume 6, 1899
-The Process, Photomechanics of Printed Illustration, 1900

CLICK HERE for a listing of Monroe Cameras.

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2012-04-07 10:32:50

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