1907: Royal Mail Stamp Camera

All cameras have at least one lens. Some have more. The Royal Mail Camera had 15. This was a small, box-shaped mahogany plate camera, made in England by W. Butcher & Sons. It produced 15 identical portraits in three rows of five on quarter-plate size glass plates. Each of the individual images was about the size of a postage stamp and special masks were available to make a contact print from the plate look like a sheet of postage stamps. Hence the name of the camera.

Left above: Royal Mail Postage Stamp camera, made by the Butcher company.

Left below: Inside the camera, showing the fifteen components, each with its own lens.

Below: Another, earlier, version of a stamp camera, this one made to take nine images on a single plate by copying an existing photograph. The mask surrounding the carte-de-visite shown here added to the impression of each individual image being likened to a postage stamp.

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