I bought a Rouch mahogany and brass camera at Photographica 2016 last weekend. It’s an English camera from the 1880s and is an unusual one.

Displaying 20160702_192127.jpgDisplaying 20160702_192127.jpgI buy early cameras - Rouch Camera

Rouch was formed in 1854, originally being Burfield & Rouch. The address was 180 The Strand, London.

The company manufactured fine quality cameras and equipment and was awarded several Prize Medals between the 1860s and the early 1900s. William Rouch was joined in the business by his son, W Rouch, who is thought to have been more interested in photography than making cameras. The result was that Rouch cameras became old fashioned and the business faded away.

Rouch made a range of cameras of the years as well as other items such as photographic tents for wet plate use. They made their Universal Landscape and Portrait cameras from 1859 and in 1862 made the New Binocular Camera, a sliding box stereo camera with a flap shutter.

My new camera is a Rouch Patent Portable Camera. It was a unique and novel design that had a baseboard that folded back over the focusing screen. It also had a loose focusing bar that slotted in to the body to allow focusing. It was novel but the focusing bar was loose and liable to be lost or damaged.

The camera was popular with explorers and travellers due to it being very compact and very light.

My Rouch camera came with plate holders and an adjustable flap shutter that fitted over the lens. The lens was made to take waterhouse stops and these came with the camera.

It’s an interesting camera that’s British and relatively early. As with many of the cameras of the time it’s made of very attractive mahogany and brass.

Graeme Swain