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Sears RoebuckTower Foldex 20

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c1948-1953. 120 or 620 film, 6x9cm exposures, folding camera. Several versions.

Sears Roebuck: Tower Foldex 20 camera

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by bill339 » Sun May 24, 2015 9:56 am

Most of the Sears cameras were branded under the names Seroco or Tower. Sears did not manufacture cameras of its own, but sold those made by other companies, including the Conley Company, which was acquired by Sears in 1910, and which manufactured cameras exclusively for Sears. In 1924 Sears also bought the Seneca Camera company. Shortly after, around 1927, Sears ceased camera production by these companies, and sold their camera assets to the United States Camera Company. However, until around 1967 Sears continued to sell cameras manufactured by others including United States Camera Company. Pho-Tak Corporation, of Chicago, USA, was a manufacturer of simple box cameras. Their name is intertwined with United States Camera, effectively the same company, who produced variations on several Pho-Tak models under different names. The Sears Tower Foldex 20 was one of these cameras. Actually there are four versions of the Foldex. The (United States Camera Company) Rollex 20 is the first of this type and has a small difference in the camera open release button plus does not have a hot shoe. The Sears Tower Foldex 20 and the Pho-Tak Foldex 20 are the same camera with different lens escutcheons with white lettering on black. Later versions of the Pho-Tak Foldex 20 had a plain metal lens escutcheon with black lettering. These cameras were fixed focus, fixed aperture, with a B to 1/50 of a second leaf shutter. The last of these cameras is the Pho-Tak Foldex 30 or Foldex 6.3. This camera has a Steinheil Munchen Cassar 100mm f/6.3 lens and a Vario diaphragm shutter. Although it is called the Foldex 30, nowhere on the camera will you see the number 30 but you will find the 6.3 aperture setting and Foldex does appear on the portrait table support leg. This cameras other differences are that it has a plastic top that encloses the viewfinder, adjustable shutter speeds from B to 1/200 of a second, aperture settings of 6.3 to 22, manual shutter cocking, and the wheel was removed from the shutter release translator. The distinctive characteristic of all these Foldex cameras is that the shutter has to be tripped with a lever that is integrated into the edge of the front door panel. They also can use 120 or 620 film and were produced from 1950-1953 with the Foldex 30 going on till 1962.

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