AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY, FIRST WORLD WAR

Catalogue number
  • MH 33751
Department
Photographs
Part of
Production date
1917
Subject period
Alternative names
  • object category: Black and white
Category
photographs

© IWM (MH 33751)

Purchase & License
Object description

Williamson 'L' Type vertical aerial camera installation as fitted for external use on an aircraft. Connected to the camera body is a propeller and flexible drive shaft for automatic operation, and a remote shutter-release attached by a Bowden cable. The camera body was a light aluminium casting, containing the plate changer, gear driving mechanism and the focal plane shutter. To this, a cylindrical metal lens adapter was fitted which, on initial models, contained a lens of 6” focal length (seen here): subsequently lenses from 8” to 10½” became standard. The shutter was the same “Goertz-Anschutz” roller-blind type as that on earlier models, fitted with a sliding saddle to adjust the width of the opening, and an internal lens-cap which was mechanically removed during exposure by the shutter release. The magazines were of the same build and capacity as those on the ‘C’ and ‘E’ Types, and were placed in similar ‘donor’ and ‘receiver’ positions on the plate-changing apparatus. The ‘L’ Type could be mounted in any vertical position, either inside or outside the fuselage, and could be operated manually or automatically. For manual operation the first models were fitted with a plunger release, but because of the camera-movement caused by its operation at the moment of exposure, this was often disabled or removed and a Bowden cable used in preference, as seen on this example. When in automatic use, the power came from a small propeller turned by the air stream and connected to the camera by a flexible drive shaft. The operator depressed the release lever to actually take the photograph, the exposed plate was then changed and the shutter was reset by a pinion drive activated by the propeller every four seconds. The ‘L’ Type weighed 37 lbs.

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