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This object is a simple camera with a very large lens and an apparently locally-made plate holder. It consists of a huge lens with a brass-coloured cylindrical hood that can be removed by unscrewing. This is fitted to a narrower intermediate adjustable lens, which itself fits into a broader grey cylinder. Inside this assemblage there are large, powerful glass lenses.

This grey cylinder is attached to a wooden box onto which silver tape has been attached around the joints (to seal them from light). On one side of this box there is a bracket with metal attachments of unknown purpose. On the other side of the box there are two long bolts protruding from the box; these appear newer than the remainder of the object.

At the rear of the box there is a plate holder consisting of a narrower gap between two bits of wood, and metal brackets to hold a thick plate in pace.

A green and white moving label has been attached to the box.

Accession Number: 2019.ast.130

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials:

Metal: Iron Alloy, Metal: Copper Alloy, Wood, Plastic (tape), Glass


On a metal label affixed to the broadest section of the lenses: “CONE S TYPE E
A M REF. NO. 14A/2487
SERIAL NO. M 4831”

Engraved on the body of the lens: “A. M.

Engraved around the rim of the lens: “F = 8″

Handwritten on the green and white moving label: “dept.”

Dimensions (cm): Length = 35, Height = 19.8, Width = 30


This artifact is for making photographic images, likely with dry glass plate which–inside a plate holder–would be slid into the slot at the back of the box of the camera.


Good: both the lens and the camera show significant signs of use in the form of scratches and marks in the paintwork. This is particularly the case at points of contact i.e around two bolts attached to the body of the camera, and where the lens naturally rests when placed on a surface. The camera appears to have been modified, with a bracket attached to one side and silver tape added to seal the box. The brass of the lens hood is corroded in places on its exterior surfaces.

The lenses are intact and in very good condition.

Associated Instruments:


Lens: John Henry Dallmeyer for U.K. Air Ministry; Camera: Locally made/modified?

Date of Manufacture: Lens: 1918-c. 1930


This object was moved from the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill in 2009, upon the sale of the observatory. They were stored at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics until 2017, when it was moved to a new storage location in McLennan Physical Laboratories.

Additional Information and References:

“A.M.” engraved on the lens indicates it was manufactured for the U.K. Air Ministry.

Historical Notes: