Abram Kershaw was the founder of A. Kershaw and Sons Ltd, makers of camera components and other optical equipment in Leeds, UK, in the late 19th century. A particularly successful product was the Kershaw focal-plane shutter; protected by a patent, Kershaw shutters were used in large-fomat SLR cameras by several makers. Kershaw made the Soho Reflex range of such cameras from about 1905, originally for Marion (the name refers to Marion's Soho Square address). The range included cameras for a wide range of plate sizes, from as small as 4½ x 6 cm, tropical models (with wood, metal and leather materials selected to withstand tropical heat and humidity) and stereo models. Some of the cameras made by Kershaw were also sold, under their own brand names, by several other companies.
In 1921, a number of British camera makers including Kershaw, and makers of films, plates and printing papers, including Marion, came together to form Amalgamated Photographic Manufacturers Ltd (APM); this was a strategy to cope with difficult times by combining resources, and might be compared to the formation of Zeiss Ikon in Germany in 1926. However, the organisation did not last long; the plate and film makers separated from it, as Apem Ltd, in 1929 (eventually becoming part of Ilford). The remainder of APM became Soho Ltd in about 1930. McKeown (p. 458) states that during both the APM and Soho Ltd periods, the Kershaw factory produced most of the companies' cameras. Kershaw also continued to produce other optical equipment independently of APM.
The Kershaw family sold the company to the Rank organisation in 1947. The company name became Kershaw-Soho (Sales) Ltd. It was during this period that many of the folding cameras, perhaps the most familiar of Kershaw's products, were produced. Kershaw-Soho named most of its cameras after birds, the directors being keen birders. The company name changed again, to GB Equipments Ltd, cameras being branded G.B. Kershaw. Finally, the company stopped producing cameras, and ceased to be a distinct part of the Rank organisation.
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- Kershaw 110
- Kershaw 450
- Kershaw 630
- Curlew (three models)
- Eight-20 King Penguin
- Eight-20 Penguin
- Peregrine (three models)
- Soho Reflex (numerous models and sizes; see the brochure, linked below)
- Ilford Prentice
- ↑ McKeown, p. 651.
- ↑ McKeown, p. 458
- ↑ McKeown, p. 67
- ↑ Fred and Stephanie Marriott's 'Pieces', no. 28
- ↑ It is fairly easy to see both a curlew and a peregrine within an hour's journey from Leeds; to see a king penguin is more of a challenge.
- ↑ McKeown, p. 458.
- Kershaw Cameras at www.collection-appareils.fr
- Photograph showing the Kershaw factory in Leeds in 1955 at Leodis: a Photographic Archive of Leeds; the caption identifies it as A Kershaw & Sons, scientific instrument makers; by this date, the camera production was under a different company name. The building is no longer there.