AMERICAN CAMERA Co. "BUCKEYE" No. 2 - circa 1898

The American Camera Mfg. Co. was originally founded by Thomas Blair in 1895, and based in Northboro, MA. Their main line of cameras were dubbed “Buckeye” and largely copied elements of the Boston Camera Mfg. Co. Bull's-Eye. The No. 1 Buckeye was a close copy of that camera. This one is the larger No. 2, which shot 4”x5” negatives on 103 film.

Kodak bought the American Camera Mfg. Co. in 1898 and moved production to their Rochester, NY factory. Kodak continued to market American Camera Buckeyes, stamped with the new address.

It is a cheaply-constructed camera made of wood with paper covering embossed with a leather pattern. It has a very curious shutter mechanism with three speed settings on each side of the cocking lever. Like the Boston Bull's-Eye, an arrow is visible through the front of the shutter to see which direction to move the cocking lever for the next exposure.

The round button to the right of the cocking lever (as seen while holding the camera to shoot a picture) is for the instant shutter. The flat button near the viewfinder is for time exposures.

Originally priced at $12, it was moderately expensive for its time. This camera has some scuffs and damage to the paper covering but is overall in good condition for its age and low quality, and includes the original instruction manual, which is very rare today.