Home > Informative, Intresting Photos, photography > Ross Ensign 16 – 20 Camera

Ross Ensign 16 – 20 Camera

October 22, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Ensign
  • In 1834 George Houghton joined the Frenchman Antoine Claudet to manage a glass warehouse in London, under the name Claudet & Houghton. It became George Houghton & Son in 1867, then George Houghton & Sons in 1892.

The company’s headquarters at 88/89 High Holborn were called Ensign House in 1901, and the production of the roll film brand Ensign began in 1903. The first Ensign logo was a shop sign with the letter “N” inside, and was replaced in 1911 by the name ENSIGN written inside the British marine flag.

  • In 1903, the company was incorporated as George Houghton & Sons Ltd., and in March 1904 it absorbed Holmes Bros. (the maker of the Sanderson cameras), A. C. Jackson, Spratt Bros. and Joseph Levi & Co., to form Houghtons Ltd. The new company carried on the production of the smaller companies it had absorbed, and notably continued production of the Sanderson cameras until 1939.

In the early 1900s the company built a factory for the production of cameras on the Fulbourn Road in Walthamstow. In 1908 this was the biggest British camera factory.

Houghton was a renowned maker of magazine cameras like the Klito. Another characteristic product of Houghton was the Ensignette, a folding camera developed by the Swedish engineer Magnus Neill.

  • In 1915, Houghtons Ltd. came into a partnership with W. Butcher & Sons Ltd, founding the joint venture Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co., Ltd. to share the manufacturing facilities. (This agreement was essential for Butcher, which had no manufacturing plant and was mainly trading imported German cameras before the outbreak of World War I.) The two companies Houghtons and Butcher continued to trade separately, and the camera designs remained distinct.

The two trading companies finally merged on January 1st, 1926 to form Houghton-Butcher (Great-Britain) Ltd., which was renamed Ensign Ltd. in 1930. (The manufacturing company based at Walthamstow kept the name Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co., Ltd. until 1945.) The new trading company kept many of Houghtons and Butcher’s camera ranges. In 1939 it introduced the Ensign Ful-Vue box camera, one of the most popular cameras of its time in the UK.

The headquarters of the trading company Ensign Ltd. were destroyed by an air raid on the night of September 24–5, 1940. The assets of this company were taken over by Johnson & Sons, but the trademark Ensign was kept by the manufacturing company Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co., Ltd., which assumed the advertising and distribution of the Ensign cameras alone until 1945.

  • In 1945, Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co., Ltd. associated with the film maker Elliott & Sons Ltd. (maker of the film brand “Barnet”) and became Barnet Ensign Ltd. In 1948 Ross and Barnet Ensign were merged to Barnet Ensign Ross Ltd., which was finally renamed Ross-Ensign Ltd. in 1954.

After World War II, the company soon abandoned the sophisticated Ensign Commando rangefinder camera and continued the range of Ensign Selfix and Ensign Autorange folding cameras, while introducing new models like the Ensign Ranger or the Snapper. Among simpler cameras, a new version of the Ensign Ful-Vue was released in 1946, which was further developed to the Ful-Vue Super and Fulvueflex pseudo-TLR..

Ross

Of Optical Works, 3 North Side, Clapham Common, London, SW4 (1922)

Ditto Address. Telephone: Battersea 3876-7. Cables: “Rossicaste, Phone, London”. (1929)

Ditto Address. Telephone: Macaulay 2472. Cables: “Rossicaste”. (1947)

  • 1830 The Ross firm was founded by Andrew Ross in Wigmore Street, London.
  • c1840 Ross started making lenses for cameras. The lenses were engraved A. Ross, London.
  • 1858 Andrew Ross died, a year before the firm moved premises.
  • After Andrew died the firm was run by his son T. R. Ross, and the lenses were engraved Ross, London.
  • 1859 The firm moved to Brook Street with a sales department in New Bond Street.
  • 1922 Listed Exhibitor – British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Cinematograph Projectors, Photographic Lenses, Lenses for Aeronautical Cameras, Photographic Cameras, Prism Field Glasses, Telescopes, Sporting, Military and Naval. (Stand No. G.61d)
  • 1929 Advert in British Industries Fair Catalogue as an Optical, Scientific and Photographic Exhibit. Manufacturers of Photographic Lenses, Cameras, Prism Binoculars, Field Glasses, Opera Glasses, Telescopes, Terrestrial, Astronomical, Cinematograph Projectors, Search-light Arc Lamps, Equipment, Optical Lanterns, Aeronautical, Astronomical and Nautical Instruments, Lenses, Prisms of all kinds. (Scientific Section – Stand No. O.32)
  • 1937 Aero lenses, binoculars and telescopes.
  • 1947 Listed Exhibitor – British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Cinematograph Projectors, Arc Lamps, Epidiascopes, Photographic Lenses, Binoculars, Telescopes, Scientific and Optical Instruments including Autocollimating Goniometer and Optical Benches and Special Optical Systems. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. D.1692)
  • 1948 Ross Ltd joined with Barnet-Ensign Ltd. to form Barnet Ensign Ross Ltd. Clearly it was hoped that with the addition of Ross’s quality lenses to their existing range of cameras, B.E.R. would become a force to be reckoned with.
  • 1954 It was about then that the company changed its name again to Ross Ensign and it produced classic 50s roll film cameras, like the Selfix and Autorange, which are still popular today with many collectors.
  • By 1955 Ross Ensign had moved production from Walthamstow to Ross’s Clapham Common factory, where they continued to produce cameras along with lenses and binoculars.
  • By 1961, Ross Ensign had gone.
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