image by Hans Splinter (Image rights)
The Appareil Dubroni is a camera for wet collodion plates, made by Maison Dubroni in Paris for a few years from about 1864. The smallest models are box cameras; the larger ones have a bellows front for focusing. The interior of the camera body is lined with glass (in the early models; indeed, McKeown states that the first cameras had no wooden sides, only an amber glass 'bottle') and later porcelain, so that sensitization, development and fixing of each plate can be done inside the camera; this was the first camera to use such a system. The chemical solutions were put into and out of the camera with a bulb pipette. In the smaller cameras there is a large red window in the back of the camera, with a swivelling metal cover (or a hinged wooden one in some models), so that operations inside the camera can be viewed. McKeown states that the largest cameras have a detachable 'laboratory section' at the back.
The camera was invented by Jules Bourdin; "Dubroni" is an anagram of the name Bourdin; notes to an auction lot at Westlicht state that Bourdin's father did not want the family name associated with his invention.
- No. 1, or Photographie de Poche, for 4 cm round exposures on 5 cm square plates
- No. 2, for 5x5 cm or 4.5x5 cm exposures
- No. 3, or Photographie de Salon, for 7x9 cm oval exposures (very suitable for portraits)
- No. 4, with a bellows, for 10 cm-long plates.
- No. 5, with a bellows and detachable 'laboratory' section, for 15 cm-long plates.
- No. 6, with a bellows and detachable 'laboratory' section, for 18x24 cm plates.
Early Photography shows a No. 1 camera in some detail, and explains the processing sequence.
Dubroni also made more conventional cameras.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p251-2.
- Dubroni Photographie de Poche outfit: camera for 4 cm round exposures on 5 cm square plates, with Dubroni Petzval lens, sold at the fourth Westlicht Photographica Auction, in November 2003.
- Dubroni No. 1 at Early Photography.
- Dubroni No. 3 outfit, near-complete, including a wooden tripod, sold at the eighteenth Westlicht auction, in December 2010.
- Dubroni No. 3 (camera only), sold at the November 2003 Westlicht auction.
- Dubroni No. 3 (camera only, but with a clear photograph of the glass lining), at Albert Balasse's Le Compendium (text in French).
- Traité Spécial de Photographie: Appareil Dubroni, Abbé Villaume, 1875; a photographic guide, presumably published by Dubroni, with special attention to the Dubroni cameras, including instructions for making plates, formulae for chemicals, and descriptions and prices of the cameras; in the Gallica Bibliothèque Numerique at the Bibliothèque National de France (readable on screen, and downloadable as pdf or other formats for non-commercial uses).
- Dubroni integral processing camera in the exhibition Cameras: the Technology of Photographic Imaging at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, 20 May - 13 September, 1997.
- Dubroni No. 6 camera at George Eastman House.