The camera looks very much like a Emil Wunsche Minimal pictured here:
Simular, but the H/B camera has no double extension, it only gears the movement over a limited track under the lens panel, and the columns are turnings. But other features are very alike.
The main problem at the moment is softening the damaged leather bellows, inserting temporary cards to re shape it, and then pressing till it stays in shape. Might need wire stays inserted between the leather and the black out cloth.
All loose leather edges on the body have been glued down, I might use a saddle leather treatment rather than just wax. It is a curious colour, in very bright light it is brown, indoors it looks black! It may be best to clean with solvent first.
I have found a 5x4 plate holder that fits, just need the ground glass in a holder. The missing round badge plate under the bellows can be turned in the lathe, made in stainless steel, and left blank.
Most of the metal parts are in good condition, just need a clean and polish.
Looked up all the details on Wunsche I can find, the camera struts are the same, perhaps indicating that the Houghton cameras came from Emil Wunsche in Germany. Most British suppliers were selling German products till the first war.
The Wunsche used a similar lensboard release catch, and similar leather handle mounts.i would suggest that you use a damp cloth to loosen the bellows. Oil will soften the entire structure, as will water, and the backing will separate. I did a Tele-cycle Poco recently but they were Russian red leather. Oil will soften the leath bellows but will irreversibly darken the leather. They treated that leather with a surface like cooked linseed oil, an old method not dissimilar from oil cloth or linoleum.
I have got several bottles of different leather treatments, mainly from saddle makers, as I do bookbinding quite a lot, and to retain colour the lot has to be done in case of darkening the leather. I use the boiled linseed oil quite a lot on old backings, mixed with pale shellac flakes to harden it further. It can have beeswax added to soften the final finish.
The body is flaky dry leather and needs a binder to stabilise it. But only after a moisturising treatment to allow the dried out leather to "swell" a bit.
The bellows is a different matter, the leather is quite good, but has set on the wrong folds. I have a wax treatment that can be use with solvents, that does not darken too much, and I think I will try that first, and add temp card supports into the folds, and then press the lot flat.
As soon as set flat, then a Linseed mixture treatment, dry, and re-press without the cards, I have a cast iron screw book press, capable of massive pressure to do the final press and flatten.
Usually the press is used on bound yearly Victorian magazines like The Strand or the The Windsor Magazine, which I collect, mainly for classic detective fiction, on the basis of everything but Sherlock Holmes! Of course in the meantime I have collected all the original Holmes stories as well!
I have found the nearly identical lens mounting board, with the curly swag design, stored away in a parts box, but it has a Rietzschel lens and pneumatic shutter unit, for 6x9 format, with cast columns.None of the rest of the camera survives. The shutter may be useful, but the diameter may not be enough to take a 5x4 coverage lens, which are about 140/150 mm. The diameter of modern lens for 5x4 would be too much, it would really need a F8 or near to fit.
Stephen, I have a beautiful Aires Viceroy with baggy bellows syndrome. I have used shellac flakes dissolved in ethanol to treat things like cardboard for restoration of boxes, antique book covers and even bellows mounts. How do you get the flakes into the linseed oil?
If you can, please post some images of your progress.
The blond or pale shellac flakes dissolve in warm alcohol, (meths), as with French polish, and then are mixed with the boiled linseed, which in french polishing of wood is there as a lubricant for the buffing cloth. Button polish,(brown shellac in solvent), will also mix with linseed. For old book leather the mix is mainly the shellac, with a few drops of linseed added, larger amounts of linseed takes ages to dry off.
Although more modern at about 1920, this Compur fitted Solinar 135/F4.5 might work in the body, as for roll film it will need an adaptor for 6x9, and 20 film. It came from a old Rietzschel long past it's sell by date. The glass appears Ok and it tested well on M4/3 on bellows as a mount. Shutter works perfectly. Stephen