Early Antigonish Camera – Zeiss Jena – at the Antigonish Heritage Museum

An article in the Casket from June, 1984 caught my attention.  It was an announcement that this month’s program will be given by widely known and recognized local photographer Robert Gourley. His theme will be “Beginning of Photography in Antigonish.”  And this tidbit: “He has in his possession the first camera in Antigonish and also old and interesting photographs which will be on display,”  I went with this to Jocelyn Gillis, curator of Antigonish Heritage Museum, and indeed she has an early camera that came from Bob Gourley.  Here is a side view of this folding camera, a Jena Zeiss.  On further investigation, discovered it was manufactured not in Germany but by the Agfa Ansco Corporation of Binghamton, NY.

Unlikely that this is the first camera in Antigonish, because it could not have been manufactured until 1928, when Ansco merged with the German photo company Agfa to form the Agfa Ansco Corporation.  Prior to 1926 Zeiss cameras were made by Carl  Zeiss Jena, a German company.  Also, I could not find an image of this particular model on the Internet.  Carl Zeiss Jena on the lens cap suggests that this camera was early on in the Agfa Ansco merger, when they were using Zeiss branding. By 1943, the Germanic associations of the Agfa name were seen as a liability, and it was dropped. 



Jena Zeiss side







AGFA manufact Binghamton NY











Carl Zeiss Jena lens cap



The only image I could find with Zeiss branding manufactured by Agfa Ansco is this Zeiss Ikon Nettel, between 1927 and 1937. http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Agfa_AnscoZeiss Ikon Nettel 870 1927 to 1937


Posted in Cooperative Arts, History of Photography, Photography Archives.

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