Fallowfield 'Facile' 1/4 plate magazine hand camera, 1888.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An example of the concealed or 'detective' cameras which became popular in the 1880s. R Offord, an amateur photographer, proposed the first design for a self-contained detective camera in the mid 1880s. It was put into practice by Frank Miall, who made dry plates and cameras for Jonathan Fallowfield, an Oxford photographic supplier. Fallowfield named the camera the 'Facile' when it was introduced in 1888. The camera was designed to look like a wooden box, and even came with straps and a handle to disguise it as a case. A photographer could carry it under his arm, taking pictures of people around him without them realising. The English photographer Paul Martin used a Facile to produce a candid photographic documentary of London in the 1890s.