|Cameo with plate holders and supplementary lens|
Research online turned up scans of a Butcher and Sons catalogue from 1914, which was invaluable for precisely identifying the model. There are four versions of the Cameo listed: my camera corresponds to the Model O, surely a back-formed name: the others are named with Roman numerals I, II and III (the 'Uno-Cameo'); the O is a simpler, cheaper version. It does appear to be named with a capital 'O' rather than a zero, although whether anyone referred to it as a "Model-Oh" seems unlikely. To add a small amount of confusion, the Model O is divided into five variants based on lens and shutter combinations: my example is the middle of the range Model 03 (the other Cameos, although having a wider variety of sizes, lenses and shutters are not burdened with a further model name in the catalogue). The catalogue states that "The Model O "Cameo" has for fourteen years held the lead as the most serviceable, most practical, and most valuable Guinea Folding Pocket Camera on the market, and for this reason has become famous the wide world over. The 1914 pattern has been entirely remodelled, and is now as perfect as is possible to make it." As an importer of cameras from Germany, the outbreak of war that year was significant: it resulted in Butchers forming a partnership, and then an eventual merger, with Houghtons in order to stay in business.
|Cameo in landscape orientation|
|Beck Symmetrical lens in Lukos II shutter|
Having made a new ground glass screen and submitted the camera to some general cleaning and renovation, an excuse for shooting with the Cameo came with the announcement on Emulsive of the first #FP4Party. In one of my job lots of old film and plates, I'd acquired two boxes of 8.2x10.8cm FP4 from the 1970s: with 50 sheets to a box I was happy to sacrifice a few sheets to test the camera, and having used some 4x5 inch FP4 from the same source successfully, without testing the film itself. I shot half a dozen sheets at half box speed and used developing times for modern FP4 Plus - the sheet film being the previous iteration of Ilford's FP emulsion before the 'Plus' version.
|Cameo with expired Ilford FP4|
|Cameo with expired Ilford FP4|
|Cameo with Ilford Soft Gradation Panchromatic glass plate|
|Cameo with No.6 supplementary lens fitted|
|Cameo with No.6 supplementary lens and expired Ilford FP4|
|Cameo with Soft Gradation Panchromatic glass plate|
|Cameo with Ilford G.30 Chromatic glass plate and No.6 supplementary lens|
|Cameo with Ilford G.30 Chromatic glass plate|
|Imperial Exposure Meter showing sensitised paper strip and sliding calculator|
|Butcher's Cameo sample image with Ilford FP4|
|Butcher's Cameo sample image with Soft Gradation Panchromatic glass plate|
|Butcher's Cameo sample image with supplementary lens and Soft Gradation Panchromatic glass plate|
There's perhaps surprisingly little in depth information about the Cameo online, although presumably sold in tens or hundreds of thousands, this may be simply that it's not considered sufficiently interesting in any way.
1914 Butcher Catalogue
'Pocket' Cameos on Historic Camera
Early Cameo model on The Living Image