London, South Kensington
11 December 2002
Ultime reflex hand camera no. 12455
W. Watson & Son, London; quarter-plate, black-leather covered body, internal plate magazine, inset plate W. WATSON & SONS. MANUFACTURERS. 313 HIGH HOLBORN. LONDON, hinged viewing hood, string-pull mirror lift, built-in shutter and a W. Watson & Sons R. R. 5 inch lens no. 5340, in a leather case
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Henry Sturmey, Photography Annual for 1891, pp. 312-313.
Photography Annual 1894, pp. 365-366.
British Journal Photographic Almanac 1891, pp. 732-733.
Musem voor Fotografie (1991), Cameras from Belgium and Holland, pp. 98-109.
Louis van Neck (1853-1917) was a creative and dynamic personality in Belgium photography and operated a number of photographic retail shops and workshops. The van Neck Ultime single lens reflex camera was sold in Belgium from 1889. It was the subject of British patent number 3482 of 4 March 1890 and the camera was probably made by W. Watson & Sons and sold by them from 1891. The camera underwent a series of changes through a lengthy period on sale. Later models were made in either seasoned Spanish mahogany or a cheaper seasoned white wood. An Eastman rollholder was also available to be fitted instead of the plate changing magazine.
The British patent described a detective reflex camera with integral plate changing facility through a built-in changing bag. The camera was sold by Watsons and was available in 3¼ square and quarter-plate sizes. The camera was remodelled slightly in 1892 and in 1894 was given a second viewfinder so that it could be used for vertical format work. The main finder was made from yellow glass so that 'there is less danger of fogging when the shutter is discharged'.
The camera was last listed in 1906 when more standard single reflex cameras became popular, in Watson's case with the Argus.
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