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John C. Hegelein of New York is known for only one camera, the Watch Camera, patented in 1894. As the name suggests, this is a miniature camera, fitted into a pocket-watch case.[1] The lens plate telescopes out on the front of a lens tube in seven nested sections. The camera uses plates or cut film, held in wooden double dark-slides. The plates and holders are rectangular, but the camera makes circular images.

McKeown states that the camera was marketed by E. & H.T. Anthony, the company that much later became Ansco,[2] as 'Anthony's Watch Camera'; however, in the example linked, the camera and dark-slides bear Hegelein's name and patent prominently.

Lancaster of Birmingham, England made a similar pocket-watch camera at about the same time, for rectangular plates. Lancaster's camera came in gentleman's and lady's models (the lady's camera taking slightly smaller plates).


  1. Hegelein Watch Camera serial no. 1011, with double dark slides and packs of Carbutt's Eclipse film, sold (for €96,000) at the nineteenth Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 28 May 2011.
  2. 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). p381-2.