The de Luxe version of the camera with the door containing the shutter open, showing the f/3 Anastigmat lens.

1895: The Aptus

Produced by Moore & Co in Liverpool, the Aptus was originally made for ferrotype (or tintype) metal plates, but production continued until the 1950s, by which time the cameras were used with bromide cards. A range of models was made, but all worked on a similar principle. The plates were held in a holder in the base of the camera, from where they were lifted through 90 degrees to the shooting opposition by means of a swivelling arm with a rubber sucker on its end. Air was sucked in or expelled by a rubber bulb external to the camera, but linked to the sucker by a tube. When the picture had been taken, the bulb was pressed, releasing the plate to fall into a tank below, containing a one-shot developing and fixing solution. Once developed, ferrotype plates could be removed from the tank by use of a magnet. Aptus cameras were mostly used by street and beach photographers. The one shown here was made in the 1920s

Inside the camera with the arm in position for an exposure to be made.

Ferrotypes produced by the camera, placed into their cardboard mounts.

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