Van Neck

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Van Neck & Company was established in London in 1897 by Frank Van Neck, and became Peeling and Van Neck in 1919.

Peeling and Van Neck made a strut-folding press camera with focal-plane shutter, from 1919 until the 1940s. The resemblance of this to the Goerz Ango camera is not accidental; after the First World War, Goerz could not immediately export to Britain or its Empire, so Van Neck took over Goerz' London works and made cameras like this, at first called the British Anschutz, and later the Van Neck (or VN) Press Camera.[1][2][3][4] The company later became the importer for Goerz, and other German makers, including Foth.

After the Second World War, the company made some metal-bodied, baseboard press/technical cameras, not unlike Crown and Speed Graphics in their features.[5] These cameras appear to have been made only in prototype quantity, however.


  1. The Van Neck camera is praised in the British Journal of Photography, 14 November 1919, p667. (archived at the Internet Archive). The article notes that R.E. Peeling had worked for Goerz before the War.
  2. Information on Peeling & Van Neck at Early Photography
  3. Peeling & Van Neck 'All Weather' press camera, 1945, with 6 and 11.5-inch Ross lenses (image, at Science & Society picture library) and details at the Museum of Science & Industry's Collections Online.
  4. 1932 9x12cm VN press camera at Wood and Brass
  5. Van Neck 4x5-inch press camera with baseboard, top coupled rangefinder and folding frame-finder, and without focal-plane shutter; lot 22 in the sale The British Camera 1840-1960; the Jim Barron Collection by Christies, 11 December 2002. Lots 23-25 (navigate with the right-arrow, near top right of page) were also Van Neck press cameras: lot 23 a similar 4x5-inch camera, but with both focal-plane and lens shutters (and black covering); lot 24 as lot 22 but quarter-plate; lot 24 with black leather.


  • Patents held by Frank Van Neck, archived at Espacenet, the patent search facility of the European Patent Office:
    • British Patent 21245, An Improved Support for Optical Lantern Screens and Photographic Backgrounds, filed 8 October 1908 and granted 1 April 1909 to Frank Van Neck, describing a portable, flding support frame for a photographer's background or projection screen.
    • British Patent 141524, Improvements in and connected with shutters for cinematograph cameras and projectors, filed 7 May 1919 and granted 22 April 1920 to Frank Van Neck, describing an adjustment mechanism for the two-disc shutter of a cine camera or projector, claimed to be easier to use than existing mechanisms, and allowing adjustment from outside the casing of the device.
    • British Patent 337013, Improvements in cinematographic apparatus, filed 24 July 1929 and granted 24 October 1930 to Frank Van Neck, Fred Gilpin Gardner and Edward Watts, describing an optical means to reverse the image from a cine projector horizontally, allowing the projector to be used for either back or front projection (i.e. to project the image from in front of or behind the screen). This could be done previously simply by reversing the film, but the patent states that this prevented use of the film's sound track unless the projector were permanently modified.