Houghton-Gennert Ensign Post Card

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  • There is a sticker inside of the back cover: "Post Card "Ensign", Trade Mark "Ensign", Daylight Loading, Use the British Made "Ensign" Roll Films, They are Fastest and the Best, The 3.1/4inch A Spool Fits This Camera, and Ensign Logo
  • There is a small round plate on the right side of the camera: Houghtons Ltd. London, G.Gennert New-York, London Made and Ensign flag logo.
  • So, we named this camera as to this sticker and small round plate.

There is no info about this camera in the McKeown's. [1]

Some minor info in the internet:

  • Matt Denton says: "Patent June 14, 1910" (1914?).
  • Canemah, a member of Flickr Camera-wiki.org group, says in the description of his camera's photo:

This lovely camera is a postcard camera. It created a large postcard that could then be mailed to friends and relatives. It did use roll film to create the negative. It was manufactured with a collaboration between the Houghton Ltd. of London and Gennert company of New York in the early 1900's, probably between 1911-1915. It's a very uncommon camera and information on this particular model has been difficult to find. The attention to detail is fantastic and the workmanship of British cameras is quite remarkable and beautiful.


  • Folder bed film camera,
    • Film: 122 roll-film "Post-card",
    • Picture size: 8.25x13.9cm (3.1/4x5.1/2 inch)
  • Manufactured by collaboration with Houghtons Ltd., London, UK and G.Gennert, New-York, USA, made in UK.
  • Model: c.1910, (produced between 1909-1915 ?)
  • Lens: Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. Rapid Rectilinear, (engravings around the lens), focal length and aperture numbers are not stamped on the lens, must be f/6.3 as to aperture scale, filter slip-on, serial no.none
    • Aperture: f/6.3-f/45 setting: lever and scale on the lens-shutter barrel
  • Focusing: bellows focusing via an index pointer; distance scale on the left of the bed plate, sliding towards the index F P A, just behind it, (this feature must be for adjusting focusing range of distance scale for plate and roll-film; we suspect that this camera is a Dual concept one and maybe it uses 9x14cm plate film, but plate holder as a camera back cover is lost)
    • Focus range: 5-25 feet (1.5-7.6 m) +inf
  • Shutter: General (Engraving on the dial), IIFX Shutters (above the aperture scale), simple, leaf shutter
    • Speeds: 1/5-1/100, +T & B
    • Setting : dial on top of the lens-shutter barrel
  • Cocking lever and Shutter release: by the same lever, on the lens-shutter barrel, for speeds press once the lever then the shutter cocks, opens and closes
  • Viewfinder: Brilliant waist level finder, turns on its own axis for landscape pictures, on the top left of the lens standard, (there are clues on the finder and lens standard that there were lost spirit level and a wire sports finder)
  • Winding lever: on the right side of the camera
  • Bellows: single-extension, slides vertically by a latch on the lens standard for parallax correction,
    • Bellows opening: open the front cover by pressing the knob on upper right side of the camera (under the leatherette), then pull-out the bellows by handles on front of it engaging on the rails of bed plate until it clicks on the inf. on the distance scale, unlock for focusing or closing by small silver lever on the left side of the lens standard
  • Camera leg: on the front cover, removable, when closing the camera, it can be stored in the bed plate by special clamps
  • Back cover: Removable, opens by a latch on top of the camera, w/ red window
  • Film loading: by special spool loosening mechanisms, there is an original wooden take up spool, 3.1/4 inch in length
  • Tripod socket: two, 1/4 inch, on the right side and front cover
  • Lugs for hand strap
  • Body: metal; Weight: 1174g; Dimensions: 12x22x24cm
  • Serial no.on the backside of the lens standard


Houghton dates back to 1814 as a glass seller. Then they began to distribute the Daguerreotype requisites. After 1904 the firm produced a vast range of cameras and absorbed some small camera makers. From 1900 until around 1909, a large number of Houghton cameras were German imports, primarily Dr. Krügener. There are many similarities between this camera and some Dr.Krügener models. So, it could be that this camera is a kind of copy of Krügeners.

G. Gennert was a big trade company for photographic goods in the US. in 19th century. It was based in New York. Gustav Gennert had founded it in the 1850s. Several camera makers made cameras which were sold under Gennert brand, and one of them was Houghton. In 1894 the company started producing its own camera brand, the Montauk cameras.

Notes and references

  1. 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).