Cirkut B&W

Part 3: The Challenge of Dating Denton’s Cirkut Camera

In part two of the story, Karen Ball-Pyatt focused on Deciphering Denton: The Kitchener Connection (click on the link). Part three of the series will focus on the Museum’s Cirkut Panoramic Camera, some history on the Century Camera Company, and the challenges we had in accurately dating the artifact.


Fig. 1 Panoramic Camera Attachment



The No. 8 Century Cirkut Panoramic Outfit appears for the first time as a division of the Eastman Kodak Company (EKC) in the 1908 Century Cameras catalogue. The base price for the outfit was $175, and this depended on which lens and what options were selected. The complete camera outfit included the Century camera Model 46 (a 6 ½ x 8 ½ inch view camera), a Series II Centar lens, No. 1 automatic shutter, panoramic attachment, revolving back, double plate holder, crown tripod, and sole leather carrying case.





Fig. 2 Crown Tripod


For panoramic photography, part of the mechanism which rotated the camera is visible in these photos. The photographer would fit the panoramic camera attachment (fig. 1 foreground) to the back of the No. 46 camera (fig. 1 background), and the whole camera rotated on the base of the crown tripod (fig. 2). It was engaged by a gearing mechanism which exposed the film as it traveled past the shutter. In this instance, Eastman Daylight-loading film 8 inches wide, and up to 8 feet long was used. For standard photography, one would replace the panoramic attachment with the double glass plate holder.


Founded in 1900, Century Camera Co. took its name for ‘the new millenium’ and produced cameras in Rochester, N.Y. Early production included Century Compact Models (10 to 16), Century Grand, Grand Junior, Long Focus, and Century Stereoscopic Cameras to name a few. In 1903 Eastman Kodak Co. (EKC) acquired shares of Century Camera Co. In 1905 Century Camera Co. acquired the Rochester Panoramic Camera Co., which held patents on William J. Johnston’s panoramic mechanism, including the name Cirkut. By 1907, Century had become fully absorbed as a division of EKC. In Part 5 I will conclude the series by exploring J.R. Connon’s contribution to the development of panoramic photography, as well as Johnston’s patent as it applies to our Cirkut Panoramic Camera.



The Museum’s Cirkut camera, serial no. 749 and bearing the markings “Eastman Kodak Co., Successors to CENTURY CAMERA CO.” has proven a challenge to accurately date, even with a serial number. After consultations with Mr. Nassau, Mr. Bogad, and George Eastman House, our best approximation using the available information is between 1908 and 1915: the 1908 date for when Century appeared for the first time in their catalogue as a division of EKC, and the 1915 date for when Century became fully absorbed by the Folmer Division of EKC. Both dates are consistent with when Ernest Denton established his studio, his acquisition of the camera, and appearance of his 1916 panoramas of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Many thanks to Wilhem Nassau (left) for connecting with the Museum and making the donation possible, Mr. Dolf Bogad for donating the camera, answering our many questions, and Mrs. Karen Ball-Pyatt for her invaluable research and for agreeing to take on this project.

Members of the Cirkut Camera Project met to inspect and discuss Ernest Denton’s panoramic photographs. Thanks to contributions by Mr. Wilhem Nassau (left), Mr. Dolf Bogad (right), and Mrs. Karen Ball-Pyatt, the body of knowledge on the camera and on the photographer have greatly increased. Photo: Grace Schmidt Room of Local History.


The military panoramas are carefully preserved in the collections of the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History, Kitchener Public Library. They will be the subject of Karen’s Part 4: Denton’s Cirkut Panoramic Photos, appearing March 18 on Historically Speaking.



Part 4: Denton’s Cirkut Panoramic Photos

by Karen Ball-Pyatt

Available on HISTORICALLY SPEAKING March 18, 2015

Grace Schmidt Room of Local History, Kitchener Public Library


To see more photos of the Cirkut Panoramic Camera, click HERE.



1. Lansdale, Robert, The Inventors of the Cirkut Camera and its Parts, Photographic Canadiana, Vol. 36, No. 1, May-June 2010.

2. McBride, Bill, Evolution of the No. 10 Cirkut Camera, Photographic Canadiana, Vol. 36, No. 1, May-June 2010.

3. Silversides, Brock, Panoramic Photography, Photographic Canadiana, Vol. 10, No. 6, March-April 1985.

4. George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.



Thanks to Wilhem Nassau, Dolf Bogad, Karen Ball-Pyatt, and Bryan Dewalt for their review and insight, the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History, Kitchener Public Library, and Historically Speaking blog.


We would also like to acknowledge Mrs. Linda Tucker, the Great-granddaughter of Ernest Denton for taking the time to write back.



Photos appearing in this article are by the author.

Labrecque / CSTMC