Monarch  –  Vintage Camera Brand

Monarch Brand Overview

Monarch logo

Founded: c. 1939 — Chicago, USA
   
Currently: defunct

Monarch Brand History

The Monarch Manufacturing Company (also sometimes known as the Monarck or Monark Manufacturing Company) was a Chicago-based camera brand founded circa 1939. Monarch was part of the Chicago Cluster (a group of Chicago-based brands including Falcon, Spartus, and Acro that manufactured a significant number of extremely similar cameras) and so most of its product lineup consisted of multiple variants of the two same basic cameras: a simple viewfinder camera resembling the Rolls and a vertically-oriented pseudo-TLR box camera like the Monarch Royal Reflex.

Not much is known about this brand other than that it shared a business address (711 W. Lake Street) with other Chicago Cluster brands and was under the control of entrepreneur Jack Galter (learn more about him in the Spartus article). Its name switched to Monarck Mfg. Co. at some point, probably to avoid confusion with (and potentially legal action from) the Chicago-based radio manufacturer Monarch Mfg. Co. as well as and probably to a lesser extent, the Milwaukee-based company of the same name which manufactured Type A-2 leather flight jackets for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Like all Chicago Cluster brands, Monarch / Monarck / Monark faded from existence sometime before the early 1950s.

Interested in starting or growing your own collection of Monarch cameras?
Check eBay to see what’s available.
References:

McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg, WI, USA: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), p 479-480.

Hardware Age Volume 148, Issues 1-6, July 1941. (New York, NY, USA: David Williams Company), p 271.

Photopedia: Master Equipment and Materials Guide of the Photographic Industry, 1940. (New York, NY, USA: United Catalog Publishers, Inc.), p 20.

Electronic Industries Volume 3, 1944. (New York, NY, USA: Caldwell-Clements, Inc.), p 144.

“A-2 jacket,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-2_jacket

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