Two One-Thousandths of a Second

At the end of the 19th century, Guido Sigriste (real name: Sigrist), a Swiss painter well known in Paris, tried to fix the attitudes of a galloping horse for the demands of his art – he specialised in representations of historic scenes and battles. Not able to find a camera fast enough, he decided to build one himself.
Guido Sigriste started to learn about photographic science, and designed a camera equipped with a slit shutter, for which he obtained a Swiss patent on 17 November 1898, and a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle (world fair). Together with two associates, he then created the Maximum Performance Camera Company (Société anonyme des appareils photographiques à rendement maximum) and set up a factory at Neuilly. The first cameras went on sale in 1902, manufactured in various formats, even including a stereo version. A lack of resources, however, meant that the business did not do well, and by 1906 production had already come to a halt.
The shutter system developed by Sigriste was truly revolutionary for its time: the slit focal shutter “swept” the plate, and was held in a moving bellows joined to the front of the camera to prevent rogue light from getting in. This system worked simultaneously by adjustment of the slit width and the rate of travel, offering considerable latitude in exposure time, according to different subjects, as indicated on the table underneath the shutter control wheel.
Jumelle photographique Sigriste, Sigriste-Oultremont-Liquerque, Paris, vers 1900
Pour un format de plaque de 9x12 cm. Obturateur focal à fente variable, vitesses de 1/40 à 1/2000 de seconde. Boîtier en noyer vernis gainé maroquin
Grande Place
1800 Vevey/Suisse
Heures d’ouverture:
du mardi au dimanche
de 11h à 17h30

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