A wooden Photo-Sport 6x9cm tailboard camera. It’s a stereo camera with two Balbreck ainé lenses. The panel with the two lenses can be replaced for a panal with one lens. The camera supports basic tilt and shift adjustments to control perspective.
The camera contains a corroded and hard to read Photo-Sport plaque on the front. Photo-Sport was a photography store at Rue Caumartin 56 in Paris. The company was founded in 1898 by Georges de Corbin and was in business until 1932, maybe longer. It was not unusual at that time for sellers to rebrand cameras and sometimes they were produced specifically for a dealer. A catalog from 1902 shows many Photo-Sport branded cameras and lenses.
The camera has two lenses from Balbreck ainé. The lenses have the numbers 728 and 729 and are type Serie A Extra Rapide. They have an angle of view of 50°, a fixed aperture of f/12 and they are free from distortion.
Maximilien Balbreck was born on 10 August 1826 in Remoiville. His company was specialised in producing precision instruments, including cameras and lenses.
The company Balbreck ainé was founded in 1854 and was located at 81, Boulevard du Montparnasse in Paris. It won various national and international awards. Maximilien became Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1883.
His son also got the name Maximilien and after he joined the company it continued under the name Balbreck ainé et fils. Maximilien Balbreck died on October 5, 1902. His son continued the business under the name Max Balbreck. The company had already moved to 137, Rue de Vaugirard. Max probably died in 1913 and his widow continued the business as Vve Balbreck.
The company’s instruments were highly regarded. Their lenses can be found on cameras from manufacturers like Caillon, Carpentier, Jules Richard and others. A catalog mentions they are supplier for various government institutions.
The same catalog shows that they were also a reseller of products from other manufacturers. They were importer of the British Cooke lenses and from 1898 licensed to manufacture these lenses.
- ainé means “elder” or “senior”
- Vve is the French abbreviation for “Veuve”, meaning “Widow”
- Princelle, J.L.;Scheiba, D. Le Rêve Edition – Aivas à Bellieni
- Trutat, A. La photographie en montagne – via: cnum.cnam.fr