Thornton Pickard A Type camera

Catalogue number
  • PHO 61
  • whole: wood, metal
  • whole: Height 7 in, Length 13 in, Width 9 in
Alternative names
  • full name: Thornton Pickard A Type camera
  • simple name: camera, aerial, plate : British

© IWM (PHO 61)

Purchase & License

During the First World War, oblique aerial photography played a key role in obtaining information on the enemy trench system and back areas, in particular just before an offensive. In addition, vertical photographs were taken usually from at least 8000ft or greater, in order to include as large an area as possible, and to prevent distortion. The developed prints were then formed into a mosaic by experts on the ground for map-making purposes. The camera Type "A" was the first camera specifically designed for aerial photography, but it had its drawbacks. The chief shortcoming of this piece of equiment being the complexity and sheer amount of work entailed in the changing of the plate (10 distinct operations).

Physical description

Wood body, with brass fittings. Complete with DDS (double dark slide). The British "A" Type aerial camera, introduced in early 1915, was normally fitted with straps or brass handles and was held by the observer as he leaned over the side of the aircraft to take his photographs. One major disadvantage of this particular type was the fact that it required ten distinct operations to expose a single plate.

History note

Thornton-Pickard aerial camera, used by Royal Flying Corps for air-to-ground photographs.

Associated people and organisations

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