This pocket watch, made in 1886,  converts to a camera. Described as The Lancaster Watch Camera when it was sold by Bonhams, it contains four different catches that have to be released before the camera mechanism could be used.

Victorian Spy Camera Watch

By brett jordan via Wikimedia Commons from Wikimedia Commons

So, maybe not the most useful piece of equipment for the Victorian James Bond, but what a fabulous item.

The first cameras
Although the camera obscura, a dark room with a hole in one wall that allowed an inverted image to appear on the opposite wall, was known in the days of Socrates, it was not until 1835 that the first daguerrotype was produced by L.J.M. Daguerre and Nicephore Niepce.

Multi-copy photographs
In 1841, Fox Talbot patented a process that produced more than one copy of a photograph, allowing the Victorians to enjoy the luxury of family photographs. Each exposure required half a minute, so most photographs are carefully posed. This has helped to suggest that the Victorians themselves were stiff and formal. Of course, they were nothing of the kind. They enjoyed all kinds of sports including cricket, cycling, croquet and golf and loved a little humour: Punch magazine began in 1841.

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