Question about Beard's double ninth plate camera

Reading about the recent auction of a second set of Beard daguerreotypes of the Franklin Expedition, posted here  by Michael Pritchard on September 21, 2023, I read of the previously known set housed in the Scott Polar Research Institute, that “the twin images were a product of Beard’s mirror camera which had a singular feature: the mirror had a pivot something like a modern SLR camera, and by turning it the photographer could record two images on a single oblong plate. This gave Beard the opportunity to choose the better of the exposures, or – if both were satisfactory – provide two daguerreotypes and double his profit.”

The Posting here of the Re-creation of Beard's Mirror Camera (1840) Posted by Roger Wesley Smith on November 5, 2012 makes no mention of a double plate and I don’t remember reading of such a camera.

Not surprisingly, considering the time past, the finding of daguerreotype images taken at the same sitting is unusual, but not, I don’t think, rare. 

For example, I have in my collection two images of John Baker of Ilminster who was12304346494?profile=RESIZE_400x a junior assistant clerk to the magistrates of the Ilminster district. Comments?


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  • Hi William,

    The 1840 camera is a Wolcott Reflecting Apparatus, an American invention that incorporates a mirror rather than a lens.

    I hadn't heard of the 'pivoting mirror' camera and would be keen to learn more.

    best wishes,


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