British photographic history

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German WW1 aerial camera? (ICA Dresden, model RK II 300)

Thank you for letting me join this knowledgeable community! At the Yale Peabody Museum's Division of Historical Scientific Instruments, we have a very interesting aerial camera (model RK II 300) that Internationale Camera Ag of Dresden made for the German military during WW1.

Here are some photos of it and of some of our related archival papers, as well as a summary of what I know so far about its history:

Can anyone shed more light on this model of camera and/or on ICA's military work? I haven't yet found another surviving example of this model, but that could also be because I do not know German. I'd greatly appreciate any thoughts or advice.

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The Zeiss lens number dates to c1918. 

Neat - thanks, Michael!

Michael Pritchard said:

The Zeiss lens number dates to c1918. 

This looks like an aerial reconnaissance camera made for taking oblique views (as opposed to vertical views), probably hand-directed in a moving mount. The caption suggests it used "roll-film plates" which is a contradiction in terms, but glass plates are far more likely to have been the photographic medium than sheet film. During WW1 there were plate-changing magazines fixed to aerial cameras so that the observer could make multiple exposures in order to build up a mosaic image of the battlefield or target being photographed. It would be useful to look at the German literature on the practice of aerial reconnaissance in the German army, and to find any literature produced by ICA at the time. I found an interesting photo of various captured German aerial cameras at,_1918.jpg

Thank you so much, Peter! The insights into the camera's use are very helpful, and the photograph from Wikipedia is extremely relevant as well; I had not come across that before.

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