Once upon a time, long before Sears Roebuck & Company had Kenmore appliances and
Craftsman tools, Sears sold polished wood and brass cameras such as the example
shown here. The Sears Plate Camera is a 4x5 inch leather covered folding-plate camera
made of polished mahogany.
The most interesting feature is a shutter mounted inside a highly polished mahogany lens
board. Turning a brass knob below the lens to either the right or left tensions the
shutter. The shutter blade has a small arrow engraved on it to remind the photographer
which direction to turn the shutter tensioning knob.
The concealed-shutter lens board is a marvelous piece of craftsmanship beveled edges
and brass hardware. This particular camera is similar to the Pony Premo E by the
Rochester Optical Company.
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.