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more specific questions. . .

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Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi - i wrote 2 posts down about my history project. I'm a bit further along in my research, due in no small part to the helpful and informed responses to my previous post. Here's my basic problem now: I need to date what I have more precisely. It seems to me that these film pack adapters were produced between c. 1950 and c. 1973. I need a more specific date so that I can focus my paper. Now, I read that Graflex products produced in the 1960's had a three letter code indicating the date. My adapter has no such code - does that exclude it from the 1960's or did only cameras, and not adapters, have that code? Is there some way to trace the development of the appearance of the adapters to date mine? (i.e. changes in font, placement of patent info., etc.) if anyone has any specific knowledge about this, i could send a digital photo. . . the only numbers on mine are a "1432" on the darkslide and a 29995 on the inside, near the buttons you push to open it up. DO these mean anything to anybody? Why would people choose the 2x3 film over the 4x5? Was 2x3 film also used for journalism? Again, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
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Joined: 09 May 2001
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Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well why choose 2x3 over 4x5? It's a whole lot lighter! The 2x3 Minispeed can be dated by to late 1939, and while it was advertised as being a professional camera, I doubt at that time a lot of pros bought it.

Now lets fast foreward to the late 50s and early 60s.... the winds have shifted. Printing, camera and lens making equipment has gotten better. The editors who lived and died for the 4x5 have gone on to other things. Watch the footage of Oswald being shot, or the Beatles getting off the plane...a gaggle of reporters, but only one 4x5. Most went to the TLR like a rolleiflex.

Now as to a time frame. This specfic Graflex item has had little research done on it because its useless....won't even make a good boat anchor. I have seen the date codes on roll film holders as early as '61. I have a camera dated '61 also. I've never seen date codes on film pack adapter, but then I never look at them.

I can't believe I have the earliest dated cameras so I think it may go back as early as '58 or '59.

To use the baseball analogy, when dealing with Graflex history, most of the time records can get you in the ball park, occasionally to the infield, but rarely, very rarely can we find home plate.

Historian's striving for absolutes either wander off to Nikon and Leica or get ulcers, because Graflex the company just didn't keep that accurate or precise records. They changed things mid stream with out hesitation and make no mention of it. Educated guesses and assumptions abound here.

I just ran a search for "film pack adapter" on ebay and found some interesting items for illustration. All of these are 4x5 but I think our assumptions will hold true with the 2x3

Item # 1.

This one has black letters on a silver back ground. If you squint and use your imagination you might be able to make out the words "mfg by Folmer Graflex Corp Rochester NY USA" This one is pre-1945 as they changed their name to Graflex Inc. that year. Notice no cat number, no Model 2 either.

Item #2

This one has some minor changes...It now says "Graflex Inc." on the second line it also says "model 2" above the word "Graphic" Notice also the sheet metal is identical to the previous. Still no model numbers. This would have been made after '45. It also says "Rochester 8, NY" If you can find out when Rochester got their Zone code (the precursor to the ZIP code ) from the post office , it might help.

Item #3

Similar to #2 but this one says "Graflex" instead of "Graphic" This one goes on a different back. Notice the slight change in styles of letters. "Graflex Inc." is in outline now. I put this in to show that not all film pack adapters were "Graphic"

Item #4

The silver background is gone and the type is now white. The model 2 is gone but the sheetmetal is the same. The Cat. number shows up on the right side of "adapter".
The box is a clue...all blue boxes like this were used in the late f40s to early 50s

item #5

Looks identical to # 4 doesn't it? but now the cat number is on the left

Item #6

This one IS the same as #5 but now we have a box that says "General Precision" on it, and they bought Graflex Inc in 1956.

So now we have a clearly defined way of dating to some degree, pack film holders right?
Silver label, Folmer Graflex-- pre '45
silver label, Graflex inc,--post war 40s ish
black label cat number on right-- early 50s
black label cat number on left --post '56.

Isn't that nice and tidy.

Except for one problem. #4 doesn't have patent numbers on the label and has a blue box from the early 50s. #5 & 6 I dated as later because of the GP box has patent numbers.

Most of the time the patent numbers come off after the patent expires but doesn't come back, and I don't see any change to the sheetmetal at all between any two of these, so I doubt these are new pat. numbers.

So is #4 for really the newest one and 5&6 are earlier? The patent rules suggest it. And yet Graflex Inc. has a history of breaking rules. The boxes contradict it. Are these boxes original to the adapter? No way to tell.

If yours has patents on it, do some research and see when they expired. If yours doesn't find a clear photo of one that does and research the patent anyway, patents usually lasted 17 years.

Take a closer look at the auctions I just posted and see if you can find info to sway your opinion one way or the other. Maybe I missed something.

In 1968 Singer, of sewing machine fame, bought Graflex. they used a "g+" for a logo and most of the roll film holders from that time have that logo or Singer somewhere. So the #6s probably didn't last through the 60s

Now you're the 'expert' author. Take a stand. have an opinion. reference us as "intelligence sources" then make up your own proof. Force the Proffessor to prove you wrong. Hey it worked for Tony Blair and GW Bush!

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Joined: 28 Sep 2001
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Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Craig @ craig list a lot of Graflex camera catalogs. Researching them could give you an availabilty date if they contain acessories listings as the film pack adaptors will be considered acessories.

The best camera ever made is the one that YOU enjoy using and produces the image quality that satifies YOU.
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Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, for filler, you might report that there IS one remaining use for the adapter. It's slide, the flat piece that covers the film if the [loaded] adapter is taken off the camera before it is all used up, is usable as a replacement for other Graflex accessories. No known use for the body of the adapter, however.
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Joined: 26 Mar 2002
Posts: 616
Location: Western Kentucky Lakes Area

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I may wax nostalgic for a moment, the old film pack adapters, obsolete though they may be, are a valuable piece of history. They're like people...every one an individual and there will never be another one exactly like it. So I say preserve the useless little rascals. I ran many a film pack through one...a 2X3...back in the fifties and wish I still had it so I could cuss it once again for having such flimsy film in it that it was hard to process . Fred.

[ This Message was edited by: clnfrd on 2003-09-14 14:33 ]
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Joined: 08 Apr 2002
Posts: 85
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2003 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


On 2003-09-14 07:20, alecj wrote:
No known use for the body of the adapter, however.

It makes a dandy, if odd-sized, little picture frame.

(The metal shell of a Polaroid film pack [or even a film film pack, if you have one laying around] can also be used as a frame. the Polaroid even has little prongs in the back you can fold out to make it stand up!)

[ This Message was edited by: Baker on 2003-09-14 23:27 ]
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