The Herold Flash Master Bakelite viewfinder camera was just one of the cameras in the manufacturing debacle created by the sale of the Utility Manufacturing Company’s Falcon brand. The buyer then moved it and its product to 711/715 West Lake Street, Chicago, home of the Monarck manufacturing Company and Spartus Corporation. This started the complicated Company naming game. Some of the branding names were Falcon, Monarck, Seymour, Herold, Spartus, Galter, and Spencer, Cinex, Photo Master, plus more. This business model was repeated in Taiwan years later and continues today throughout the globe (cheap product with many names and brand names).
The Flash Master camera was marketed by the Herold Products Company in 1942. Designed as a simple candid camera that was capable of shooting under any lighting condition. The photoflash unit had a 3 3/16 inch diameter plated reflector, used two penlight batteries (AA), was electronically operated (synchronized), plus was labeled Spartus on the battery cover and could be used on the Spartus Box 120, Spartus 35, Spartus 35 F, Pho-tac Macy, Pho-tac Scout 120 Flash, and the Pho-tac Spectator Flash. The Herold camera was constructed of Bakelite with a built-in open viewfinder with no optics. It was fitted with a genuine Graf meniscus 50mm lens and flash-synchronized time and instantaneous 1/25 of a second shutter. The shutter lens combination was used on many cameras and if you remove the metal lens plate you will find the words Photo Master embossed on the plastic in all capital letters. The Herold Flash Master is a half frame camera with two red windows in the back cover for frame counting and for capturing sixteen exposures on no. 127 or A8 roll films. The exact camera (Flash Master) can be found with the Seymour Products Company Inc. name. The Photo Master Company’s Photo Master Camera with the Bakelite face is the same camera without the two flash posts but used the same molds. Spartus used the shutter assembly with an upgrade on the Spartus Miniature. The Miniature lens is a Graf Achromat 50mm F7.7 single element and it has two apertures of F7.7 and F16.
Notes related to specific cameras
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