Victorian Detective Camera
Patents and Inventions
Invented in 1881 by Thomas Bolas






The detective camera was invented in 1881 by Thomas Bolas.

Title Primary Class Description Inventor Assignee Issue Date Patent No.
Photographic Camera 396/152 A box camera that enables the photographer readily and conveniently to center the image of the object to be photographed upon the photographic plate and focus his instrument without viewing the image on the ground glass thus taking a photograph while holding his camera in his hand or under his arm. William Schmid E. & H. T. & Co., New York January 2, 1883 US270133
Photographic camera 396/144 A detective or hand camera enabling the following: a method of quick focusing, a method of springing the shutter, a method of changing and managing the plates, concealing the operating parts of the camera from view. George B. Brainerd
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December 1, 1885 US331677
Detective camera 396/360 Improvement in detective cameras which are provided with roll-holders adapted to the support of a strip of suitable sensitized paper or film while successive exposures are made. George Eastman; Franklin M. Cossitt The Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company, Rochester, New York November 30, 1886 US353545
Photographic camera 396/50 The negatives are made upon a continuous strip of sensitized paper; to provide a device for spacing the paper so that only the required surface will be exposed; a novel device for marking the paper after each exposure so that the negative formed on the paper may be separated before the image is developed. Robert D. Gray; Henry E. Stammers
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May 3, 1887 US362271
Photographic camera 396/151 The detective camera will be conveniently held in the hand and aimed at the object to be photographed whether in motion or not; a tilting lens-holding frame whereby the object maybe brought more easily into the field. Sydney P. Hasey
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January 8, 1889 US395899
Magazine plate holder for photographing plates 396/371 Provide suitable means of carrying any number of sensitive plates in such a manner that they will be ready for instant use without the usual manipulation of drawing a slide or changing plate holders; economizing the space occupied by the plates and their holders thereby reducing the size of the camera to the smallest limit. Frederick A. Hetherington
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January 22, 1889 US396656
Camera 396/344 Camera is longitudinally adjustable within the box for the purpose of focusing the object according to the distance it is from the camera. Thomas H. Blair Blair Camera Company, Massachusetts May 20, 1890 US428448
Photographic camera 396/367 To combine in the same device a detective view and general camera, so arranged that the plates may be successively exposed and after exposure returned to the dark receptacle without change of the device whether used as a detective or ordinary camera. George D. Thompson
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August 5, 1890 US433553
Camera 396/362 The invention relates particularly to the class of photographic apparatus known as detective-cameras; automatic locking device for the door of the magazine; magazine adapted to receive a roll film. William A. Schneider
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August 5, 1890 US433746
Photographic camera 396/347 The bellows or collapsible feature is retained but accompanied with cooperating mechanism whereby the end sections are always accurately held in planes parallel which each other so that the axis of the lens is always perpendicular to the plane of the sensitized paper Frank W. Hutchins
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August 12, 1890 US434046
Detective camera 396/369 In the use of the camera the film is unwound from one reel and wound upon another reel. The film remains intact and all the pictures taken are united, and the entire film must be withdrawn as one piece from the camera. Miles A. Seed M. A. Seed Dry Plate Company, Missouri September 16, 1890 US436745
Photographic camera 396/345 A camera that can folded and extended to take large pictures a small detective camera that can take large pictures utilizing roller-holders for flexible film. Frank A. Brownell Eastman Company, Rochester, New York December 9, 1890 US442216
Photographic apparatus 396/370 Sensitized plate-boxes in which a number of sensitized plates are carried one behind the other for taking a succession of pictures, and it consists a method of removing the plates and stowing them after the pictures have been taken by feeding up the plates, plate by plate. Edward Valentine Swinden; Joseph Earp
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February 3, 1891 US445911


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