Established in March 1888 and trading through to circa 1907 Sharp & Hitchmough introduced a range of cameras under the 'Aptus' tradename. Their Universal hand camera was advertised from 1890 and an Improved Model (this lot) was brought in for the 1896 season.
The company explained the rationale behind the combined field and detctive hand camera: 'The object in view in designing the Aptus Universal Hand Camera was at once to provide an instrument by which a photographic tourist might secure pictures of landscapes, portraits, architecture (interior and exterior) and, in fact, any object coming within the range of a most complete outfit...This Camera is acknowledged to be the most perfect Hand Camera made at the present day'. The 5 x 4 inch model sold for £5 5 0. The editor of Photography magazine stated: 'In our opinion this Camera is a very clever thing, and one with which not only the best, but also all varieties of work can be done. It will certainly be met with approbation at the hands of the man who wants a good article'.