So check this out.
As happens from time to time, I got caught in the tractor beam of Mike Crivello's Cameras in Brookfield whilst innocently orbiting past in the Toyota, and had to go in to torture my camera addiction. I went in to try out a new camera, a ———.
So I was incompetently putting some inferior images on a card with said tantalizing device, when look what Jerry pulled out of the back:
Anyone have any desire for a completely American-made camera?
This is an Orbit, made by Burke and James in Chicago, Illinois of all places. The City of Big Shoulders, the City that Works. Jerry found it in the basement.
If it's not new, it certainly does a good imitation. It's in perfect condition. Well, I shouldn't say that, because I know some peoples' definition of "perfect" gets pretty fanatical when it comes to old cameras, and we did not get out the magnifying glass. But it's beautiful. Maybe it got used, but it could pass for brand new. The spiffy red bellows are...well, what's a word for unwarranted apparent perfection? They certainly look crisp.
It's a 4x5, with a rotating back. And check out its carrying case:
Not fancy, but stout, and it's made of wood. A backpacking camera this is not. A work-out-of-the-back-of-the-SUV camera, yes.
The Orbit was not a fancy camera when it was available new, but as a cherry example of a bygone era this is a very appealing period piece, and perfectly (that word again—augh) usable too. I told Jerry if the camera were inside the frontier where it was even plausible I'd ever take a single picture with it, I'd be tempted. Alas, it resides in deep space where my orbit never passeth.
He said the last one he saw had been made into a lamp, and very beautifully, too.
If any large-format fan out there wants this, they're only asking $350 for it, wooden casket included. Call Jerry at (262) 782-4303. Or toll free, 866-941-4303. Or contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And that brings us to the next post, a lament....