Thompson's Revolver camera, serial number 44, manufactured by A Briois, Paris 1862. Camera body engraved: `Thompson Invtr, A Briois, 4 rue de la Douane, Paris, Brevete SGDG, No.44'
Thompson's Revolver Camera, designed by Mr Thompson and manufactured by A Briois in France, 1862.
Mr Thompson, an Englishman about whom very little is known, undoubtedly took as his inspiration the Colt revolver, invented by an American, Samuel Colt.
True to its name, the Revolver Camera took the form of a handgun. However, instead of bullets, the brass cylinder that formed the body of the camera held a circular glass plate. After each exposure the back of this cylinder was rotated through ninety degrees. In this way, four successive ‘shots’ could be taken before having to reload. The wooden pistol grip allowed the camera to be held steady with one hand, leaving the other free to operate the controls.
Novel and ingenious as it was, Thompson’s camera was not a commercial success. The exact number made is not known but serial numbers on surviving examples would suggest that fewer than one hundred were produced.