Strobonar was the brand used by Honeywell for a long-lasting series of electronic flash units.
The Heiland Research Corp., based in Denver, Colorado, originally used the Strobonar brand in 1950 on electronic flash units powered by a separate battery pack. (These could also use AC household power.) Several years after Heiland's acquisition by Honeywell, they introduced one of the earliest self-contained electronic flashes, the 1958 Futuramic Strobonar. This was still an imposingly-large "potato masher" design, and the original list price of USD $59.95 would equate to roughly $470 current (2011) dollars. Starting with the 1961 Futuramic II, all the large Strobonar models had a distinctive oval lens over their flash-tube reflector.
The Strobonar name was reused over the following decades for successive models, from more compact shoe-mount flashes to stand-mounted studio units with slave triggers. Honewell was a pioneer in flashes which used a photocell measuring light reflected back from the subject to control the duration of the flash pulse, thus offering autoexposure for flash shots—these models carried the Auto/Strobonar name. Later versions of the "potato masher" models, such as the Strobonar 882, could use a separate Strobo-Eye mounted in the camera's accessory shoe to achieve this control even with off-camera flash (and the Pentax Spotmatic SP IIa included this sensor in the camera body, just below the rewind crank).
As electronic flash units increasingly became a built-in feature of many cameras, and with inexpensive Asian imports undercutting the remaining marketplace, Honeywell ultimately retired the Strobonar line.
|A 1971 advertisement of the Honeywell Strobonar flash lineup|
scan courtesy Michael Raso (Image rights)