|Flora-6 Model II|
image by John Bosko (Image rights)
The Flora Six (フロラ・シックス) is a Japanese folding camera taking 6×6 and 4.5×6 exposures, made by Kyōwa Kōki in 1953. Two models are known, the Flora Six II and Flora Six III. Before them, there was perhaps a model I, but this is unsure.
The Flora Six II
The top and bottom plates are chrome finished; the layout of the controls is the same as on the Olympus. There is a tubular finder in the middle, a body release to the right, an accessory shoe and folding bed release to the left. The advance knob is at the top left and has an arrow indicating the winding direction. There is a decorative film flange at the top right.
The back is hinged to the right and has two red windows protected by sliding covers, marked 4.5X6 and 6X6 and again designed after the Olympus models. It seems that the finder has translucent plastic strips indicating the field of view for 4.5×6cm pictures.
The names MODEL II and FLORA–6 are engraved on the top plate, to the right of the viewfinder. The folding struts have a KYOWA logo, and the same logo is repeated on the front of the leather case.
The shutter is a K.O.K. giving B, 1–200 speeds. It has a self-timer and is synchronized with an ASA bayonet post. It has five blades, was subject of the Japanese utility model (実用新案) no.14147 and was certainly made by Kyōwa itself.
The lens is a Techonar 75mm f/3.5; the lens marking KYOWA KŌKI TECHONAR apparently indicates that it was made by the company too. The lens was apparently named after Tekona (手児奈), the name of a character of the Man'yōshū (万葉集) poem living in Katsushika (葛飾), where the Kyōwa company was located.
Documents and actual examples
The Flora Six II was advertised in Japanese magazines from June to December 1953. The October 1953 advertisement in Asahi Camera gives no price, and mentions Sanwa Shōkai and Yamato Shōkai as authorized dealers.
Surviving examples have been observed with lens numbers in the 19xxx to 22xxx range.
The Flora Six III
The Flora Six III has a different top housing and 1/300 top speed. The viewfinder is enclosed in the top housing, the advance knob, shutter release, folding bed release and accessory shoe are placed above the top housing, at the same location as on the model II. The model name is engraved above the viewfinder.
The Flora Six III was presented in an advertisement dated May 1953, this is the only picture observed so far and no record of a surviving example has been found.
- Date: advertisements and articles listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.363.
- This page by Terasaki Haruhisa mentions a Flora Six I, but this is perhaps a guess.
- Five blades and utility model number: advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.177.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.363.
- Advertisement in Asahi Camera October 1953, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.177.
- Examples pictured in Sugiyama, item 1301, in this page by paul67, and observed in online auctions.
- Advertisement in Asahi Camera May 1953, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.178.
- 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 797–8.
- 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.83 (brief mention only).
- 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. Item 1301.