Ricoh Ricohmatic 44

Ricoh Ricohmatic 44

The Ricoh Ricohmatic 44 is a compact twin lens reflex camera designed by the Riken Optical Company (now Ricoh) for 4x4cm exposures on 127 film. Like several of its contemporaries, the Ricohmatic 44’s color schemes (aside from this example’s grey-blue on beige, the camera also came in dark grey on beige and creme on beige) deviate from the standard black and silver palette in favor of something a bit more playful to set it apart from its larger, more serious 6x6cm siblings.

Monarch Royal Reflex

Monarch Royal Reflex

The Monarch Royal Reflex is a pseudo-TLR (a box camera that superficially resembles a twin lens reflex camera) made of an early plastic named Bakelite and introduced in 1939 by the Monarch Manufacturing Company. Monarch (sometimes also spelled “Monarck”), was just one of a many names that made up the Chicago Cluster—a collection of Chicago-based camera brands including Spartus, Acro, and Falcon which appear to be multiple fronts for a single manufacturer. As such, the Monarch Royal Reflex was also sold under different names such as the Monarch Kando Reflex, Remington Flex-Master, and Pickwick Reflex. Its basic design also exists in the form of models like the Metropolitan Clix-O-Flex, Metropolitan Metro-Flex, and the aluminum-bodied Utility Falcon-Flex.

Zenith Comet

Zenith Comet

The Zenith Comet is a vertically-oriented viewfinder camera debuted by the Zenith Camera Corporation of Chicago in 1947. As part of the Chicago Cluster, a group of Chicago-based brands active in the 1940s including Spartus, Falcon, and Rolls which are generally believed to be multiple fronts for a single company, Zenith produced only a handful of basic models including the Comet’s close sibling: the Zenith Comet Flash. As its name might suggest, the only real difference between the Comet and the Comet Flash is the ability to use an accessory flash unit. Other than that, both models are functionally identical.

Kodak Brownie Vecta

Kodak Brownie Vecta

The Kodak Brownie Vecta is a simple plastic box camera manufactured by Kodak Ltd., London—Kodak’s British division—in 1963 for the 127 film format. The camera’s stylish looks can be attributed to world-renowned industrial designer Sir Kenneth Grange who, in addition to a handful of Kodak cameras, is also responsible for the InterCity 125 High Speed Train as well as the modern London Black Cab).

Bilora Bella 44

The Bilora Bella 44 is a viewfinder camera introduced in 1958 under the brand name Bilora by Kürbi & Niggeloh, a manufacturer based in the German town of Radevormwald some 40 kilometers west of Düsseldorf. So named because it produced 4x4cm exposures, the Bella 44 was very similar to the original Bella of 1953 and the Bella 46, both of which delivered 4x6cm negatives. During its production life, the Bella 44 was also sold in the US as the Tower No. 5 and the Ansco Lancer as well as in Germany as the Foto-Quelle Revue 44.

Rolls

The simply named Rolls is a viewfinder camera made of Bakelite—an early plastic—introduced by the Rolls Camera Mfg. Co. in 1939. This same camera was sold under a wide variety of names in many different variations, particularly by what is commonly referred to as the “Chicago Cluster,” a group of Chicago-based brand names that produced so many near-identical cameras that it’s widely believed to be just one actual company.

Bell & Howell Electric Eye 127

The Bell & Howell Electric Eye 127 (also known as the Infallible Electric Eye 127) is a premium automatic exposure box camera introduced in 1958 by the Bell & Howell Company of Chicago. While better known for its motion picture cameras and projectors, Bell & Howell also manufactured several still camera models from the late ’40s to the early ’60s and sold rebadged Canon cameras in the 1970s.

Kodak Hawkeye

The Kodak Hawkeye (also commonly sold as the “Baby Hawkeye,” “Hawkeye Ace,” and “Hawkeye Ace De Luxe” in several slight variations) is a simple box camera made of leatherette-covered cardboard with a metal face. The Hawkeye was manufactured by Kodak Ltd., London—the British subsidiary of Eastman Kodak—and appears to have only been available in select European markets when it was introduced in 1936.

Acro Model R

The Acro Model R is a relatively obscure World War II era rangefinder camera introduced in 1940 by the Acro Scientific Products Company of Chicago. Like Spartus, Acro was part of the “Chicago Cluster,” a group of Chicago-based camera brands that produced a series of nearly identical Bakelite cameras. However, unlike the vast majority of those cameras that were designed to be simple and cheaply made, the R is an upscale model for advanced amateurs.

Zeh Goldi

The Zeh Goldi is a small folding camera introduced by Dresden’s Zeh-Camera-Fabrik in 1932. Designed for Kodak’s 127 film format (often called vest pocket film), the Goldi is significantly smaller than the 35mm cameras that would eventually herald the end of 127 and is actually on par with many modern-day compact digital cameras.

Kodak Baby Brownie Special

The Kodak Baby Brownie Special is a very simple box camera constructed of Bakelite, an early plastic. It has a basic meniscus lens with a minimum focus distance of five feet and a single fixed shutter speed (estimated to be about 1/40) activated by the button on the side. The optical viewfinder runs across the top of the camera next to the film advance knob. A nice braided hand strap is supposed to span the top of the camera from the metal brackets on either side but it’s missing on this one.