The Vélocigraphe is a falling-plate camera for up to twelve plates, designed by Étienne Ricard and Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Lacroix, and made by Hermagis in Paris, in the 1890s. The body is a wooden box; it was supplied in a close-fitting leather case, the front opening to allow it to be used while in the case; all the controls are on the front. It has an Hermagis lens with an iris diaphragm, mounted with a coarse screw thread for focusing. The camera has a behind-the-lens shutter, with seven speeds (numbered 1 - 7 on the control), set by varying spring tension. The shutter tensioning lever also operates the plate-changing mechanism. There is a plate counter, in a window in the maker's name plate on the right-hand side. There are Watson-type viewfinders, and spirit levels, for horizontal and vertical orientation.
The Vélocigraphe was made in 9×12 cmand 13×18 cm plate sizes. A stereo version was made for six 8×16 or 9×18 cm plates.
The Vélocigraphe was perhaps so named to take advantage of the fashionability of cycling; certainly the camera, in its case, and intended for hand-held use, would have been easy to carry on a bicycle. One of the advertisements at Collection Appareils promotes the camera and a sommier vélocipédique (bicycle mount) for mounting cameras, such as the Vélocigraphe, on a bicycle or tricycle, even allowing photographs to be taken while moving. In l'Amateur d'Excursions Photographiques, Hermagis and Rossignol included an article on photographic excursions by bicycle. However, an article on the Vélocigraphe in the same issue stresses the speed with which successive exposures can be taken, so the name may instead have been intended to convey this.
- ↑ Swiss Patent 3730 of 1891, Chambre Photographique, granted to Étienne Ricard and Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Lacroix on 15 June 1891, describing the camera, and most particularly the plate-changing mechanism; at Espacenet, the patent search facility of the European Patent Office.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 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). p388.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Vélocigraphe serial no. 909 at Early Photography.
- ↑ Velocigraphe 9x12cm, s/n 1137, with Hermagis Aplanastigmat No.8 140mm s/n 34383, seen in on-line auction (Dec 2013).
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Contemporary advertisements for le Vélocigraphe at Collection Appareils
- ↑ Hermagis and Rossignol, 1897, Excursions Photo-vélocipédiques, in l'Amateur d'Excursions Photographiques, No.3, pp346-355. The whole volume was previously available for reading online or downloading from E-Corpus.
- ↑ Hermagis and Rossignol, 1897, Le Vélocigraphe de MM De Ricard & Lacroix, in l'Amateur d'Excursions Photographiques, No.3 (as above), pp455-459.
Cameras sold at Westlicht Photographica Auction (now Leitz Photographica Auction):
- Vélocigraphe serial no. 305, sold at the twentieth auction, on 1 November 2011.
- Vélocigraphe serial no. 831, in its case (with tripod bushes and spirit levels on the case) and with Tele-Objective (a teleconverter, to mount between the camera and lens); sold at the twelfth auction, on 17 November 2007.
- Vélocigraphe serial no. 899, with a folding optical finder on the top; sold at the sixteenth auction, on 5 December 2009.
- Vélocigraphe serial no. 1454, with Aplanastigmat No. 8 140 mm f/6.8 lens, and altered shutter release, and with an accessory shoe and two tripod sockets on the body, sold at the seventeenth auction, on 29 May 2010.