Fancy making your own personalized postage stamps? Today, it's easy with modern technology, but many years back, it wasn't at all as difficult as one might think today. A camera made in the early 1900s made it possible with a 15-lensed camera. Learn more about it after the jump!
While we lomographers are certainly no strangers to the wonders of multi-lensed cameras, it turns out that some camera makers in the early 1900s have also explored and experimented with the idea. As a stamp collector and an advocate of snail mail, I got interested in the Tiki Tour Stamps feature and thought, “What if there’s anything that links my love for both film photography and philately?”
Lo and behold, a quick Google search rewarded me with something interesting: the Royal Mail Stamp Camera. As its name suggests, the interesting photographic contraption allowed one to make his or her very own personalized postage stamps.
Manufactured by W. Butcher & Sons from around 1906 to 1917, the Royal Mail Stamp Camera, sold for £1 5s, was made out of polished mahogany and brass hardware, and equipped with 15 fixed-focus achromatic lenses. It had a guillotine type shutter that was controlled by a screw perched on the top of the camera. At the back, it had a glass plate that aided in focusing and could be detached for placing a film plate. It could also be fitted with a mask for printing the photos with a fancy border. Butcher also sold print-out paper with stamp-like perforations to complete the DIY stamp maker.
It’s definitely an interesting addition to anyone’s camera or antique collection, if it only doesn’t sell today for $2400 to $5000!