Turning the brass knob below the lens to either the right or left tensions the shutter.
The shutter blade has a small "L" or "R" engraved on it to remind the photographer
which direction to turn the shutter tensioning knob for the next exposure.
The Pony Premo E is a leather covered 4 x 5 inch format, folding-plate camera
made of polished mahogany. Like the Sears Plate Camera, it is interesting
because the shutter is "concealed" inside a carefully crafted wood lens board.
The concealed-shutter lens board does not have a high gloss polish but has a
nice decorative window-pane look. According to an 1898 Rochester Optical
Company catalogue listing, the camera sold for $8, or about $164 in year 2000
Concealed-shutter folding-plate cameras are somewhat scarce compared to
others with external lens/shutter assemblies. This was possibly due to the
amount of laborious "hand-fitting" required to assemble the shutter inside the
polished lensboard and that the shutter was very limited; having only one speed.
(Also refer to the Sears Folding Plate Camera.)
This camera was purchased in 1898 for family photos. The owner was a long
shoreman who worked at the Jersey City docks in Secacus, NJ.
Pony Premo E, c.1898 Rochester Optical Company. Rochester, NY.