Mignon Bicyclists' Camera, c.1886 American Optical Company, Scovill Mfg. Co., New York
"So popular has amateur photography become among
wheelmen that the two amusements are now often
combined. The "Wheel" allows unbounded opportunities
to the amateur photographer to gather choice landscape
views." - Scovill Amateur Supplies
The Mignon Bicyclists' Camera is a very small American field
camera (front focusing pattern) making 3¼" x 4¼" images on
glass plates. I was baffled by it for a long time and then
realized it could be a Mignon based on catalogue descriptions.
At this time, I know of no other examples of this cute camera.
This fine-looking camera is constructed of beautifully polished
mahogany and includes a high quality Darlot 3-lever brass
bound lens, two-section wooden case and five plate holders.
The Mignon Bicyclists' Camera appeared in catalogues from
about 1885 into the early 1890s and, as with the Anthony
Bicycle Camera, it is odd that it also could be the only known
example. At this point my opinion is that these really early
bicycle cameras didn't appeal to cyclists.
Price of a complete "photo-outfit" (lens, universal joint bicycle
attachment and canvas saddle bag) was $70 in 1886; about
$1,862 in 2015 currency. It was a very pricy outfit at the
time! Maybe the cost was simply too steep for touring
cyclists. By 1888, the outfit price dropped to $50.