Vintage Ansco, Brownie, Nikkorex

Somehow Swan and I got into a correspondence about old cameras. I wrote:

When I was a kid of about 11 I begged and wheedled my parents for a camera. For Christmas I got an Ansco box camera. It was black and clunky, about the size of a modern PC speaker. It had a film winder (620 film?) and one control, a sliding-arm shutter you had to depress two inches to take the picture. It was embarrassing, though it took pretty good pictures in strong sunlight. Despite my best “upgrade now please” pleas over the next 6 years, it was the only camera I ever got.

I spent some time looking for reasonable-match photos of these basic old vintage cameras. It turns out both Ansco and Kodak produced tons of similar-looking camera models from the 1920′s to 1950′s, including a lot of different Brownies.

I found a couple of photos online that seem a fair match to my distant memories of the 1950′s. The particular Ansco model depicted in the image below shows a shutter button. I remember a sliding lever shutter, but after more than 50 years I could be wrong …

For sale on Etsy.com. Seller commented This is a wonderful pinhole camera! Made in 1953 by Ansco of Binghamton, New York. Produces 6x9 prints, has a Meniscus lens and optical view finder. Click image to go to source page.

For sale on Etsy.com. Seller commented "This is a wonderful pinhole camera! Made in 1953 by Ansco of Binghamton, New York. Produces 6x9 prints, has a Meniscus lens and optical view finder." Click image to link to source.

 My narrative continues: The next Christmas my younger brother got a camera too. It was a Kodak Brownie and it was SO cool. Half the size, good looking, and it took better pictures! I was always jealous.

For sale on Flickr.com. Seller commented: I bought this today in a charity shop for £3.

For sale on Flickr.com. Seller commented "I bought this today in a charity shop for £3. The Brownie 127 model 2 was made from 1959 -1963. It's made of bakelite, and takes 127 roll film. Click image to link to source.

My story (and research) deepens:

When I was in the service overseas I finally bought a Nikkorex 35mm at the PX, in 1964. The PX price was dirt cheap, under $100 as I recall. This was an early model low-end Nikon with a big 50mm manual lens. It took fabulous pictures of course. It lasted me until a house burglary in about 1979.

What I still miss about it was all the controls being mechanical. No drill-down hierarchical LCD menus.

Here again, what I didn’t realize is how many different models Nikon made under the “Nikkorex” brand. I seem to have lucked out and purchased the top of the line F model; this looks exactly like what I remember. It was meterless and forced me to buy a compact light meter and learn f-stop and shutter speed logic!

from www.mir.com: "A year later in 1961, another unusual camera model was introduced. It doesn't bear with a "Nikon" name, but was designed by Nippon Kogaku and used the same F-mount and supplied with Nikkor lenses. It was called "Nikkorex". It was originally designed as a economical SLR". Click image to link to source.

There is also a larger image of this fine camera available at mir.com, which I downloaded here.

Some of the older photos in Alex’s Gallery 2 were taken with this Nikkorex, which did have a removable lens. Stateside, I purchased a 200mm manual telephoto for the 1964 Monterey Bay shots in that gallery.

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