Patrick Meagher had originally worked for Thomas Ottewill (see lot 137) but left to establish his own camera making business in 1859. According to Smith: 'he soon established himself as the premier camera maker'. He received the Highest Award at the 1862 International Exhibition and numerous other medals at subsequent exhibitions. His greatest contribution to camera design was the introduction of side wing supports on one, or in this case, both sides of the camera which gave increased rigidity. When the rear baseboard was folded up the wings folding and secured it in place.
Meagher's New Folding camera which was introduced in the late 1860s, was advertised as being superior to the traditional Kinnear or Landscape design of camera with the following advantages: 'No screws are required for fixing; the focussing is effected from the back by the screw adjustment; the focussing-screen is attached to the Camera, and the bellows body is parallel. This will be found of great advantage when using wide-angle lenses.'
So successful was the design that it 'was used in the Government Photographic Departments, and by nearly all the best Amateur and Professional Photographers, and has been adopted by nearly every Maker of, and Dealer in, Cameras, both at home and abroad'. The camera was also selected by Captain Abney R.E., for the photographic equipment of HMS Challenger, by the American Boundary Commissioners, and the Arctic Expedition. The camera was made fourteen different sizes from 8½ x 6½ inches to 24 x 24 inches with additional features and improved specifications at extra cost.