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Strange old things on Ebay

Back in... 1997, I think, my grandmother died, leaving a house stuffed to the brim with a lifetime's carefully sorted junk.   We all took a few bits and pieces and then a house clearance company was called in to deal with the rest of it.   My father in law, who has an interest in photography, took some of my grandfather's old cameras.

Fast forward twenty-odd years, and now my in-laws have developed a newfound interest in having a loft that is not stuffed full of old junk that someone thought looked interesting...and dropped the camera equipment back with us.   I must confess that I was tempted to simply heave it in the bin, but Pp felt that someone might still love it, so we photographed it and he has heroically put it on Ebay.  The camera above, we think, is one that my grandfather bought when on his walking holiday of Germany in the 1930s.  It folds up amazingly small, and has a very neat gadget for holding... I'm not sure what. Some sort of photographic plate, I think, it seems to pre-date film on a roll.   More photos on the ebay listing this way.

And then there's this thing : a  Houghton "Sanderson" Regular Camera.  It dates from before 1911, so I am fairly sure that my grandfather must have bought it second hand, because he wasn't that old.  Unless he inherited it himself, of course.  It seems to be missing a bit, and I'm not sure if that part got thrown out because it wasn't identified as part of the camera when the house was cleared, or if it's still in FiL's loft, or if it was missing that bit when Grandad found it in a junkshop and he always intended to fix it up...

The Newman & Guardia Quarter Plate Changing Box has the air of an item that was enormously clever in its time but I have absolutely no idea what exactly it does.  It has a flappy bag.  I don't know why!

And there was also what I thought was another camera bag, but in fact turns out to be, apparently a WWII British Military Leather Helio 5" Mk V - T.B.S.Leather case for Heliograph.  My grandad was in the army during WWII, so I suppose it's possible that this had simply lurked in a cupboard since that time.

And finally there are these things.  We think they must be some species of camera tripod.  They are rather awkward and heavy, and we don't know how they fit together - so we sort of came down on the side of not putting them on ebay on the grounds that who would want them, and they would be hell to post.  But on the other hand, I feel awkward about slinging them on the fire, because of the little badge. According to this site, the 'N' inside a hanging shield means that they were made before 1911.  It seems somehow wrong to fling things that have survived that long, onto a fire, but if we don't, I have no idea what we are going to do with them.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
13th Nov, 2016 20:33 (UTC)
That's fascinating. Are you going to do an update post to let us know whether things sold? It would be interesting to see whether there were collectors around.
14th Nov, 2016 11:41 (UTC)
I expect so - I see that a couple of the items already have bids! It will be nice if they go to people who really want them and know what to do with them.
13th Nov, 2016 21:38 (UTC)
Oh! Watch-the-birdie camera!
14th Nov, 2016 11:42 (UTC)
I don't think there was a birdie in the box - but perhaps I should check!
14th Nov, 2016 16:07 (UTC)
Should be. They must not sell cameras without birdies.
14th Nov, 2016 02:22 (UTC)
I wonder if the unidentified bits are some kind of surveying gear?
14th Nov, 2016 11:46 (UTC)
It's possible, but I can't think why my granddad would have pre-first-world-war surveying gear. He was a registrar (of births deaths and marriages) and his parents had a stained-glass business in London.

Camera stuff seemed a bit more likely, but not very clear how it was used.
14th Nov, 2016 13:36 (UTC)
Might it be worth a trip to your local auction house? They might be able to identify the function of the wooden things. Even if they are not worth anything, it would be nice to solve the mystery...
15th Nov, 2016 07:40 (UTC)

Also, rather than throwing them on the fire, there has to be some way to give these to someone who would repurpose them. They look like good solid oak to me, and oak will last for a millennium if it doesn't get broken by force. I know an artist in the UK who mostly works with found/reclaimed wood; if you decide to dispose of these, lmk and I'll see if she's nearby enough to want them. As she primarily makes small carved things for the hair, I know these are plenty big enough to be of use to her. And if she's too far away, she may know other artists who are nearer who could make use of the wood. These days, reclaimed wood that you can point at the age of often raises the value of the finished piece, especially if you know what it originally was (which the potential auction house ID would certainly be good enough for!)
15th Nov, 2016 14:10 (UTC)
They feel a little light to be oak, to me, but I suppose they could be. I don't think I'd fancy carving the wood myself, but it would be nice if they could go to someone who would make use of them.
19th Nov, 2016 12:31 (UTC)
Oak is often lighter than people expect, and those are fairly slender lengths of wood.

If the end up not being of sufficient historical significance to be wanted as they are, I'd be happy to try to help you find an artist who can make use of them.
15th Nov, 2016 14:08 (UTC)
That's a thought. I wonder where there is one. I'm a bit disinclined to just chuck them out, but it seems madness to hang on to them with no idea what they are for or purpose for them, just because they have survived this long!
19th Nov, 2016 12:29 (UTC)
If there isn't an auction house, it might be worth trying an antique shop. If they don't know what it is, they're likely to know someone local who could identify them.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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