Photo shop Image By Jim Lersch ( Thanks Jim ! )
 

About Me

   I have been around Deardorff Cameras nearly 36 of my 52 years. My first Deardorff was a 5x7OS from 1937. A red and Gold one that had years of use on it. In 1970 I bought it at a studio sale in town for 15.00! I also should have bought the five number 10 Cirkuts the widow had too! They were 50.00 each and way too much for a 16 year olds budget. I thought that my Deardorff was far older than '37. In fact I did not know Deardorff was still in business then. That year I started to go to the great old Chicago camera shops. Wow !! A Dream come true. Cameras all over the place. Every size and format. While in Altmans towards the rear of the store I saw my first 8x10 Deardorff  sitting folded up in the display case.  1200.00 Dollars was the price! More than a Hasselblad! That price sure made my Seneca 8x10 look good! Fast forward through the Navy as an Optical Man and Marriage and working retail.  In 1980 a high school classmate brought to me an 8x10 Deardorff in disassembled condition. A 1937 too. He asked if I could repair it. Sure I said!
    I took it home and stripped and refinished it. It looked pretty good. I needed parts though.
I called Deardorff and ordered parts. Six months later I got them. I took the camera up to Deardorff and showed it to Merle and Jack Deardorff. Jack handed me 4 cameras on the spot to refinish for him. I started to go to Deardorff 3 days a week for 14 months learning the skills I needed to do the work. I did all the refinishing for Deardorff from 1980-88. During this time I also did repairs and new construction of cameras at the factory. I also learned the history of the company and who used Deardorffs. Jack made me historian of Deardorff. Through this I learned and have passed on the knowledge given me.  L.F.Deardorff' & Sons really never had a company motto except to make the highest quality camera they could. I strive to do the same.
    1988 saw the bankruptcy of Deardorff and the end of an era. It also saw the end of parts for me. By 1990 I had made contact with the metal suppliers Deardorff used and had a supply of metal. But at a VERY HIGH price. Deardorff bought enough for a few years of production while I needed parts for repair, a few at best. That problem still exists. From 1980 through 1993 I was associated with Jack Deardorff. Differences of opinions caused that relationship to dissolve.
  Many people think Deardorffs are rare. They are not but parts for them can be. Even a current production (1950-1988) camera can have slightly different parts from one made a couple of years before. When I have to reproduce a metal part I generally have a camera to copy it from. But sometimes not. That requires time and patience on my part as well as the full understanding of my customer. I do get back logged from time to time. There are times I have had 35 cameras lined up to refinish. Each takes a week if I have the proper parts. This leads to delays. As I said I use only original Deardorff metal and wood parts.
       I do run out of parts and have to spend a lot to get them. I have to wait till my suppliers make  them which can be months and then clean and plate them. It can be a hassle. But it is all worth while. The cameras have a new lease of life, another 50-75 years.  And that's all that matters.
Ken Hough II Age: 52
Married since 1976 to a genealogical researcher.

Kids: A daughter, Works in finance and enjoys running tractors.

A 23 yr. old son who REALLY enjoys running steam engines.
He is a senior attending Purdue for Mechanical Engineering Technology. His current project is the restoration of his very own 1919 20hp Advance Rumely steam traction engine. His motto is "if it breaks, build a new one". That's very true of his engine. It has or is getting new replica steps, Tank brackets, Smoke box door and a new replica smoke stack. All these need a pattern and a iron foundry to cast the parts. Anything can be reproduced and as he has shown it can be done.

In March of '99 I developed Acute Adult onset asthma.  Until you can not breath you have no idea what fear is. This was from a drug reaction. My short term memory was also affected.  I am not quite fully recovered but very close.  Please watch those drug interactions!

Hobbies: Using my Deardorffs ! Finding out as much about this company as I can and debunking stories about Deardorff cameras. This is my wife's influence here. Being a genealogical researcher she has to find FACTS about a persons family. I do that with Deardorffs.

During the summer and fall, my family goes to Steam Shows and operates Antique Steam powered equipment at shows around the midwest. We hope to own our own tractor some day.

On  Monday Oct. 25 1999 my mother lost a 11 year battle with Lymphatic Cancer. She had in the past 2 years 3 mini strokes (TIA's) and was hospitalized many times. She always showed great dignity and never complained of pain though it was painful for me to see her waste away. She inspired my family to collect things we hold close to us and learn as much as we can. She will be missed.

Our Summer weekends
 
 

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