Van Neck, Louis



Person (Male)

Alternative name or descriptor

  • Royal Photographic Manufactory

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules


  • Connected


Life dates

Brussels - Molenbeek, 1853 - Antwerp, 1917


1885 - 1907 / Anvers, Klapdorp, 10 (& 10 bis<97-07>)
Successor: Reynkens Louis
° 10.1.1853; + 10.9.1917. Pharmacist. Sold photographic chemicals and supplies. One of the finest and most inventive Belgian camera manufacturers in the 19th century. Established at this address from 1879 onwards as pharmacist and dealer in chemicals.
Patent of 16.9.1889 [Van Neck, Brussels] for "a new camera system, the ‘Ultime’ [fitted with a "vlug terug" (quick return) mirror]" - a system which was patented in England in 1890; patent of 30.11.1891 for "a new camera with simplified plate-changing mechanism, the ‘Excellentis’"; patent of 28.2.1893 for "a new system for photographic enlarging and reducing"; patent of 15.9.1893 for "a new, simple stereoscopic camera, the ‘Royal Excellentis L. V. N.’"; patent of 9.2.1897 for "a new support system with rigid and collapsible frame for use in photography". He invented and commercialised the automatic enlarger (1889), the Vade-Mecum (1894-1899), the Alpha (1893), etc.
Van Neck manufactured dry plates under the trademark "Antwerpia Helio", c. 1890. He also commercialised accessories designed by Abbé Coupé, the Dupont printing frame and J. De Neck’s hat camera (1885). In an article in the "British Journal of Photography", 1890, it was stated that his factory in Merxem - probably on the Drayé brothers’ premises (see that name) - employed 30 people. Member of the "Cercle d'études photographiques et scientifiques d'Anvers". He gave a lecture on chronophotography in 1904. A dramatic study of a firework at night, in an album presented by the Antwerp section of the ABP to Albéric Lunden in 1888, in the collection of the Photography Museum in Antwerp, illustrates Van Neck's early interest in high-speed photography. He was also a pioneering motion picture exhibitor from 1902 onwards. He took stereo views of the "Old Antwerp" neighbourhood reconstructed at the 1894 Antwerp Universal Exhibition, published by E. Lyon - Claesen.
Agencies in 1893 in Ostend, Rue Christine, 127, and in Namur on the pharmacist Gelson’s premises. Still recorded in Klapdorp in the 1908 directory as an optician. In 1910 at the Klapdorp address: "Grande Pharmacie - commercial hardware store; photographic department managed by Mr Heinze, photographer". Simultaneously, Van Neck was partner to Henri Rubbens in the studio at Rue des Cérises, 7 operating as successors to Hugo Piéron (- Loodts), 1907-1911.
1889 - 1890 Bruxelles, Montagne aux Herbes Potagères, 9
Successor: Steppe & Cie
1893 Bruxelles, Rue de la Régence, 58
Branch. Also at Rue des Sables, 22, at an unspecified date.
1893 - 1895 Anvers, Place de Meir, 45
Branch. "Comptoir photographique". General agency for photographic plates and chemicals.
1907 Anvers, Place de Comédie, 1
Sales outlet.


1885 - 1907 / Anvers, Klapdorp, 10 (& 10 bis<97-07>)
1889 - 1890 Bruxelles, Montagne aux Herbes Potagères, 9
1893 Bruxelles, Rue de la Régence, 58
1893 - 1895 Anvers, Place de Meir, 45
1907 Anvers, Place de Comédie, 1


Antwerp, 1885; Brussels, 1888; Paris, 1889 (silver medal); Brussels, 1891; Geneva, 1893; Antwerp, 1894; Courtrai, 1897; Antwerp (CEPSA), 1903; Ghent ABP, 1903.

Genres / subject matter



SCHOUWENAAR, P. "Louis van Neck, vader van de vlug-terug spiegel?", Photohistorisch Tijdschrift, vol. 14, 1991, pp. 4-7.



Affiliated entity

Association belge de Photographie

Type of affiliation

Member of

Dates of affiliation

1886 - 1904

Description of relationship


Record source


Identity of institution

FotoMuseum Provincie Antwerpen


Level of detail

Dates of creation/revision

SFJ revised 18.9.2017, 31.12.2017 & 17.2.2018, partly based on information supplied by Pool Andries; SFJ revised 17.7.2018, 27.2.2019 & 6.6.2019; revised 22.7.2019 based on information supplied by M. Demaeght; MD revised 21.4.2020; SFJ revised 7.5.2020 based on information supplied by M. Demaeght




Maintenance notes