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Bring to Jerome

Jerome Limited

Jerome appear to have had many studios throughout Britain.  I have been sent this photo of a Jerome studio. The sender believes it to be of Jerome's first studio in England.  Jerome usually stamped the date of each portrait on the back of their photos.  This can be very helpful.  Most old photos that have survived from other studios from the 19th century and early 20th century are undated.  Jerome photos that I have seen have been studio portraits, produced as postcards though rarely sent through the post.  Most of these postcards are were loose, but they are occasionally found in their original folders.  The prices charged by Jerome for a studio sitting were inexpensive, and an annual visit to Jerome, perhaps on a birthday or at the end of the school term was common, so many 'everyday clothes' can be seen in the portraits.  During WWII, the men came in uniform to have their picture taken before going to the front.  No doubt many never returned!

It is early enough that it doesn't use the eventual Jerome slogan of "Branches Everywhere" nor even claims, as on the spool above, "Branches Throughout Great Britain".

"Most Saturdays over 400 people would be photographed. Used an exposure of one or two seconds at f6.3. The 'Jerome' paper negatives could be retouched using a HB pencil and a final print made available in 1½ hours; if it was for a passport, a 40 minutes service could be requested."

The camera back had a focusing screen of approximately 3.5X2.5 inches. Part of the camera back revolved (rather like that of a Mamiya RB67) enabling portrait or landscape format. Having focused on the subject with a brass wheel and rack arrangement the Teak plate holder would be inserted into wooden grooves in the camera back which would then push the focussing screen further along the grooves. The plate holder had then taken the place of the screen and you would be ready to take your first photograph having pulled out the dark slide. One plate holder was big enough to take three exposures by moving the plate holder further along the grooves each time (though taking three exposures of one sitter would be frowned upon by the branch manager and if, it occurred too often, might be reported to the Regional (?) Head Office in Wolverhampton).

"The camera but it was well made, wooden, probably Teak, with a front brass hinged double baseboard and square bellows. The lower base board was attached to the tripod and the rear of the upper base board (hinged at its front edge to the lower baseboard) could be raised by about 35 degrees, so the camera could look down on the subject. This arrangement was mainly used for looking downward on babies who were laid on their backs or stomach on a table top covered with a blanket."  "The Mahogany tripod was a very Victorian affair. Alongside is shown one of similar appearance (but not identical) from an 1892 photograph. An approx. 8" (200mm) diameter wheel, with a handle, racked the central column up and down and would have been quite at home in a waterworks of the same period! Three curved piano stool type legs ran on casters and consequently a good shove was needed to get the camera and tripod on the move."

The tripod illustrated, apart from not having casters, has its own tilting baseboard, whereas the Jerome camera had two hinged baseboards (see description above) which provided means to tilt the camera downwards. Hence, the Jerome tripod didn't need the tilting top. A brass clip would slot into the holder making sure it was aligned for the next photograph. The orthochromatic paper 'film' that the plate holder contained (supplied by Kodak when Geoff was working for Jerome) would be 9X4 inches (an estimate) and the paper was much more sensitive to light than Bromide printing paper." Although Jerome received Kodak orthochromatic paper 'film' stock during the 1960s, it is unknown where Jerome sourced their paper film during much of the previous 40 years.


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Last modified: 01/09/2013