Box Ensign 2¼ B

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The Box Ensign 2¼B is a box camera made by Houghton-Butcher in the UK around 1923[1]. It takes 2¼×3¼ (6×9cm) exposures on 120 film (Ensign 2¼B film). It has a simple rotary I/T shutter. There was also a 2¼A model, for 2¼ square images. The camera body is made of wood and card, covered with thin paper-based leatherette.

There are at least two models of the 2¼B; the basic model has a meniscus achromat lens (behind the shutter). Another (the 2¼B RR) has a Rapid Rectilinear lens. Both have a choice of three unlabelled aperture settings selected by a slider above the shutter release (they are f/11 (slider pushed in) to f/22 (slider pulled all the way out)). Some versions have a plug-type lens cap, made of leatherette-covered card, attached by a string to the lens surround.

There are two Watson-type finders and a wire frame finder which folds across the front; there is no rear part for the frame finder.

The 1923 model was available in black, or a leather-grain effect brown.

A very similar camera, the Duo-Ensign 2¼B, was made in about 1930. It has most of the same features as the earlier model. In addition, this camera has a tab on the top, beside the viewfinder for portrait orientation, which brings a supplementary lens into place for portrait range. It also has a cover over the red window, which is hinged on a lever. Raising this lever to view the window also lifts the pressure plate off the film.

The Duo-Ensign 2¼B was available with black, red and blue covering. Some of the fittings which on the earlier model are painted black (including the viewfinder surrounds and the frame finder) are plated instead on this model. Finally, it has an oval metal badge nailed to the front, where the earlier camera has the name impressed in the leatherette.



  1. McKeown, p.394