HOUGHTON (London, England)
Houghtons dates back to 1834 when George Houghton joined Antoine Claudet as a glass seller.
After the announcement of the Daguerreotype process in 1839, Richard Beard secured the
patent rights to operate the process in England, from a patent agent appointed by Daguerre.
Claudet secured a license directly from Daguerre and spent most of his time operating his
own studio, while Houghton began selling Daguerreotype requisites. On Claudet's death in
1867 the firm became George Houghton and Son, George Houghton and Sons in 1892, and Houghtons
Ltd. in 1904. The firm produced a vast range of cameras and accessories, notably after 1904
when it absorbed a number of smaller camera makers. From 1895 Houghtons was also responsible
for producing the Sanderson camera. From 1900 until around 1909, a large number of Houghton's
cameras were German imports, primarily Kriigener.
The firm came together for manufacturing purposes with W. Butcher in 1915 and the two finally
merged on January 1, 1926 as Houghton-Butcher (Great Britain) Ltd. Houghton-Butcher
manufactured products and a selling arm, Ensign Ltd, was set up in 1930. On the night of
September 24-25, 1940 enemy action completely destroyed Ensign's premises at 88/89 High
Holborn. Johnson and Sons, manufacturing chemists, took over Ensign forming Houghtons
(Holborn) Ltd and sold apparatus including that manufactured by Johnsons. The "Ensign" name
was retained by H-B which in 1945 joined forces with the long established Elliott and Sons
to form Barnet-Ensign. Barnet Ensign Ross followed in 1948 and Ross-Ensign in 1954. George
Houghton's sons and grandsons had continued in the business throughout all the mergers until
the firm finally disappeared about 1961.
Throughout its history the firm produced cameras and accessories notably after 1926 for the
mass-amateur market. During the inter-war period it was the largest producer of photographic
equipment and was the most important in Britain.
An Interesting Ensign Site
All Prices are shown in Australian Dollars
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Internet links provided on any of my pages to other sites are provided as a matter of
convenience, and I don't necessarily endorse what you may find there.