Blair Camera Company, Boston, Massachusetts                1893 - 1897


Making its appearance in 1893, Blair's "The 400" can be found in their Illustrated Catalogue of Blair's Hand Cameras and Films, copyright July,1893. The origin of its rather distinctive name is unknown, which stands out in contrast to Blair's other cameras that were named for people, places or things.


Billed in E. & H.T. Anthony's Descriptive Catalogue and Price List of Photographic Apparatus, November, 1893, as "positively the most compact 4x5 camera for roll film in existence and the highest grade folding hand camera in the world", Blair's "The 400" Camera's main competition was Eastman's Flat Folding Kodak (1895-1897).  It's believed the Flat Folding Kodak was brought out to compete with Blair's "Folding Kamaret", the name "The 400" was marketed under in the U.K.

Capable of 50 exposures and weighing four pounds, "The 400" was finished in the finest morocco leather.  Featuring the same lacquered brass hardware found on Blair's Folding Hawk-Eyes, it was equipped with Bausch & Lomb's venerable Iris Diaphragm Shutter.


As seen in the photos below, accessing the cameras internals will take a few steps.  First, a lever accessed from the inside front above the bellows is slid to release the camera's back.  The back has a latch at top and is mounted at the bottom with detachable hinges.  Once the back is removed, the take-up spool chamber's side door is removed by pulling backward on its brass retaining strip.  At the opposite side, the film holder is removed simply by sliding it out. Very substantial in construction, a solid sheet of brass encloses one side which can be seen in the last photo at bottom . 



Blair's "The 400", makes its last appearance in Blair's Catalogue of Photographic Apparatus and Supplies, Season of 1897. Despite having a longer run than the Flat Folding Kodak, both were commercial failures as evidenced by the very few seen today.  But the essence of their roll film designs would live on in Eastman's Cartridge Kodak series, as well as other Kodaks and cameras by other makers, many of which would prove to be highly successful.


Blair's "The 400" , the Folding Kamaret and the Flat Folding Kodak are all considered to be very rare cameras.



For more information on the Folding Kamaret and the Flat Folding Kodak, click on the links below:


The Folding Kamaret 7x5


The Flat Folding Kodak












































From Blair's 1893 Illustrated Catalogue        Image courtesy of Pacific Rim Camera





From Blair's 1893 Illustrated Catalogue        Image courtesy of Pacific Rim Camera





From Blair's 1893 Illustrated Catalogue        Image courtesy of Pacific Rim Camera





 Blair's 1893 Illustrated Catalogue             Image courtesy of Pacific Rim Camera