Baby Rosen, Rosen Four and Adler Four
The Baby Rosen and Rosen Four are Japanese folding cameras using 127 film, made from 1935 by the company Proud. The Baby Rosen is a 3×4cm camera, copied from the Goldi, a German 3×4 camera made by the company Zeh. The Rosen Four is a derivative taking 4×4cm exposures. The Adler Four (or "Adler IIII" or "Adler IV") is a name variant of the Rosen Four, sold by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō.
The Baby Rosen, Rosen Four and Adler Four are vertical folders. In addition to the folding bed, there is a square metal plate mounted on scissor struts and supporting the lens and shutter assembly. All the models have a folding optical finder and an advance knob at the left end of the top plate. The back is hinged to the left and retained by a sliding button on the right.
The Baby Rosen
The Baby Rosen (ベビーローゼン) is a direct copy of the Zeh Goldi. The film advance is manually controlled via two red windows in the back, and there is no exposure counter. The front leather is simply embossed ROSEN.
The Baby Rosen appears in advertisements dated November 1935 to October 1936. The November 1935 advertisement in Asahi Camera mentions an imported Corygon f/4.5 lens and a Vario shutter, and says that the price range started at ¥45. The September 1936 advertisement in Ars Camera lists the following lens and shutter combinations:
- Terionar f/4.5 lens, Argus shutter, T, B, 25–100 speeds (¥35);
- Corygon f/4.5 lens, Vario shutter (¥45);
- Corygon f/4.5 lens, S-Pronto shutter (¥55);
- Corygon f/4.5 lens, N-Compur shutter (¥80).
The Corygon lens was made by Friedrich, and the Terionar lens was made by Fuji Kōgaku, as indicated by the Fuji-kō Anastigmat Terionar engraving on the lens rim. The Baby Rosen pictured in Sugiyama is the cheapest version. The Argus shutter is everset and the speeds are selected by a small wheel at the top. The release lever is directly attached to the shutter plate. The latter has a decorative pattern shaped as a labyrinth and the aperture scale is at the bottom.
|1936 Proud Co.Japan Baby-Rosen Fuji-Ko Anastigmat f4,5/5cm|
image by yalluflex (Image rights)
The Rosen Four
The Rosen Four (ローゼン・フォアー) is a modified version taking 4×4cm pictures. It was advertised as the first Japanese camera taking 4×4cm pictures, and the Rosen Four and Adler Four are certainly the only folding cameras that were made in that format.
|Film advance control. (Image rights)|
There is a small black casing under the advance knob, containing an exposure counter which is manually reset by a small button at the front. (Some device to control the film advance was necessary because the rollfilm paper backing was not marked for 4×4cm pictures.) It is said that there is no auto-stop mechanism and that the film advance is manually controlled by watching the frame numbers. The front leather covering has the same ROSEN embossing as the Baby Rosen. The name Rosen is repeated at the front of the leather ever-ready case.
The Rosen Four appears as a new model in an advertisement in the December 1936 issue of Asahi Camera. The maker is mentioned as Proud-sha and the distributor as Ōsawa Shōkai. The following lens and shutter options are listed:
- Rosen Anastigmat 50/4.5 lens, Rosen shutter, 5–150 speeds (¥48);
- Corygon f/4.5 lens, New Vario I shutter (¥55);
- Corygon f/4.5 lens, Prontor II shutter (¥69);
- Corygon f/4.5 lens, Compur-N shutter (¥82);
- Corygon f/3.5 lens, Prontor II shutter (¥80);
- Corygon f/3.5 lens, Compur-N shutter (¥95);
- Corygon f/2.9 lens, Compur-N shutter (¥110).
The same versions are listed in the leaflet reproduced below, together with the ever-ready case for ¥5. The document mentions "Rosen Camera Works" (ローゼン・カメラ・ウアークス) and has an R.C.W logo. This is certainly not the name of an actual company, as many similar names ending in Camera Works.
|Leaflet for the Rosen Four, c.1937. (Image rights)|
In addition to the above versions, the Rosen Four has also been observed with a Rosen–Anastigmat 50/4.5 lens and an everset shutter giving 5–250, B, T speeds, engraved PKW at the top of the shutter plate, with a P or LP logo on the right. The meaning of these markings is unknown.
The Adler Four
|Column in Shinkō Graph August 1938. (Image rights)|
The Adler Four (アドラー・フォアー) is a rebadged variant of the Rosen Four, sold by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō (subsidiary of Riken). The main body is nearly identical to the Rosen Four, except that the casing for the exposure counter is nickel-plated instead of black, and that the front leather is embossed Adler IIII. The name "Adler" was clearly used to demonstrate Japan's alliance with Germany. During the war period, Riken often used such names (they also sold a Heil camera), or other "patriotic" names.
The Adler Four was introduced in 1938, some months after the 4.5×6 Adler models. The camera is announced and advertised in the August 1938 issue of Shinkō Graph. The price is given as ¥56 (case ¥6), and a ten-month payment plan is offered as an option. The two documents mention a Ukas Anastigmat f/4.5 lens and an Adler Four shutter giving 5–250, B, T speeds. Despite this, the camera pictured in the advertisement has a different shutter with T, B, 150–25 speeds, OLYMPIC FOUR at the top, MADE IN JAPAN and PAT. NO. 194303 in small characters at the bottom, and the AKK logo of Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō. (This shutter is similar to that found on the Olympic Four.)
|Advertisement in Shinkō Graph August 1938. (Image rights)|
Two actual examples have been observed so far. One has a front-cell focusing Helios Anastigmat f/4.5 lens (certainly made by Tōkyō Shashin Kōgaku) and an everset Perfect shutter (5–250, B, T) by Neumann & Heilemann. The shutter plate has a Neumann & Heilemann nameplate screwed to the top, is marked PERFECT at the bottom and has an NH logo on the right. The aperture scale, from 4.5 to 18, is engraved on another crescent-shaped plate screwed to the bottom. (This lens and shutter equipment is similar to some Seica examples, but for the minimum speed.) This camera is reported to have the name "The Asahi Kogaku Kogyo Co Ltd" engraved somewhere.
The other example has an everset shutter (5–250, B, T), marked ADLER FOUR at the top with a different logo on the right, probably reading AKK. This shutter is perhaps a rebadged Perfect but this is unconfirmed.
- The attribution to Proud is confirmed by an advertisement in Asahi Camera December 1936, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343.
- Advertisement reproduced in Yazawa, p.17 of Camera Collectors' News no.235.
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104.
- The lens name is written テリナー (terinā) in the advertisement by mistake. Terionar lenses are reported in Sugiyama, item 1241, in McKeown, p.804, and have been observed in an online auction.
- Engraving observed on a Baby Rosen in an online auction.
- Sugiyama, item 1241.
- Leaflet Nihon saisho no 4×4 kamera Rōzen Foā, c.1937; advertisement in Asahi Camera December 1936 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104. This information is repeated in Sugiyama, item 1242, and in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343.
- "Senzen no rikō kamera – hoi", p.21 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14 (about the Adler IIII).
- Example observed in an online auction.
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104.
- An example is pictured in Sugiyama, item 1242, and Lewis, p.51.
- Leaflet Nihon saisho no 4×4 kamera Rōzen Foā, c.1937.
- Example pictured in Omoide no supuringu-kamera-ten, p.25, and in this page of the Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology, and example observed in an online auction.
- Advertisement in Shinkō Graph August 1938, p.2, and column in the same magazine, p.37.
- See also the catalogue Olympic Products, c.1938, p.30, which gives the same information. The Adler Four was also listed for ¥65, with a similar ten-month payment option, in an unspecified issue of Riken Konzern geppō (理研コンツエルン月報) dated 1938, quoted in Tanaka, p.16 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
- Example observed in an online auction.
- Description of the online auction.
- Example pictured in "Senzen no rikō kamera – hoi", p.21 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, and in Adler Four page of the Ricoh official website.
- Anonymous company. Nihon saisho no 4×4 kamera Rōzen Foā / Kokusan kamera hyōjun-hin Semi Rōzen (日本最初の4×4カメラ ローゼンフォアー / 国産カメラ標準品 セミ・ローゼン, Rosen Four, first Japanese 4×4 camera / Semi Rosen, standard Japanese camera). Leaflet published c.1937 (date not indicated). Document reproduced in this Flickr set by Rebollo_fr.
- Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō. Olympic Products. Catalogue published c.1938 (date not indicated). Document reproduced in this Flickr set by Rebollo_fr. (The catalogue briefly mentions the Adler Four on p.30, among cameras available with a ten-month payment plan.)
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7. Lens item Jc12.
- Shinkō Graph (新光グラフ) August 1938.
- Advertisement by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō on p.2.
- "Orinpikku kamera nyūsu" (オリンピックカメラニュース, Olympic camera news). P.37.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Items 326–7. (The Adler Four is not listed in this book.)
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P.51.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). P.804.
- Omoide no supuringu-kamera-ten (思い出のスプリングカメラ展, Exhibition of beloved self-erecting cameras). Tokyo: JCII Camera Museum, 1992. (Exhibition catalogue, no ISBN number.) P.25.
- "Senzen no rikō kamera – hoi" (戦前のリコーカメラ・補遺, Prewar Ricoh cameras – appendix). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.14, October 1989. No ISBN number. Rikō kamera no subete (リコーカメラのすべて, special issue on Ricoh). Pp.21–2.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Items 1241–2. (The Adler Four is not listed in this book.)
- Tanaka Masao (田中政雄). "Senzen no kamera 2: Supuringu kamera" (戦前のカメラ2・スプリングカメラ, Prewar cameras 2: folding cameras). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.14, October 1989. No ISBN number. Rikō kamera no subete (リコーカメラのすべて, special issue on Ricoh). Pp.16–9.
- Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (145) Rōzen to Korigon" (レンズの話ローゼンとコリゴン, Lens story  Rosen and Corygon). In Camera Collectors' News no.235 (January 1997). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.15–9.
- Rosen Four in the Camera database of the Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology
- Pages of the Ricoh official website:
|Asahi Bussan and Riken prewar and wartime cameras ( )|
|rigid or collapsible|
|Vest Adler | Gokoku | Semi Kinsi | Letix | Olympic | New Olympic | Regal Olympic | Semi Olympic | Super Olympic | Vest Olympic | Riken No.1 | Ricohl | Roico | Seica | Zessan|
|Semi Adler | Adler III | Adler A | Adler B | Adler C | Adler Four | Adler Six | Gaica | Heil | Kinsi||Chukon Ref||Ricohflex | Ricohflex B|