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557 Sales | On Etsy since 2010

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Here is a bit of American camera history for you! This is the Seneca No. 1, an antique folding plate camera from the early 1900s. Seneca operated out of Rochester, New York, just like Kodak, but were only around for the first 25 years of the 20th century. Along the way, they produced a number of beautiful camera like this one.

Unfortunately, as you can see in the photos, this camera is in a serious state of disrepair. The leather coating is flaking off with mad abandon. There is a massive tear near the back of one side of the bellows. The camera has lost some important screws/hinges that keeps everything fitting tightly together. There is no ground glass. On top of all of that, this camera is only designed to take 5x7 glass plates, so it is not even compatible with current 5x7 film holders.

So, what is functional on this camera? The shutter, a Seneca Uno (at least, that is what it says on the nameplate), works beautifully. It has three settings - Instant, Time, and Bulb, and all three work correctly. The lens sits behind the shutter and could use a good cleaning, but you do have access to the lens in order to clean it, if you wish. The available apertures on the lens range from f16 to what I believe is f256, although it is difficult to read on the metal plate. The viewfinder is large and has a dreamy cast to it, but is still usable. The face of the camera does rise and fall. The leather handle is intact and in decent condition. There are two tripod sockets on this camera.

As is, this camera would make a lovely display piece, however, I think it could be absolutely stunning with a small amount of work. The original base wood is mahogany, so it might be worth your time to strip the rest of the leather off the camera and refinish the wood. Alternately, you could strip the camera of the lens and shutter element if you're looking for a new lens for a 4x5 or 5x7 camera. Either way, it's a great piece of camera history! Please examine the photos closely before purchasing, and feel free to ask me any questions if you have them.

Camera size (with the bellows extended to the max) - 8.5" x 9" x 6.5"
Camera weight - 2 lb.


**This item will ship outside the United States via USPS First Class Mail.

Seneca No. 1 5x7 folding plate camera, for repair or display only


Overview

  • Vintage item from 1900 - 1909
  • Materials: metal, fabric, glass, camera, leather
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 274 reviews
  • Favorited by: 23 people