|image by John Kratz (Image rights)|
The awkward-looking Fotochrome camera was manufactured by Petri for the Harrison Fotochrome company, circa 1965. This was a major photofinishing concern based in Florida, USA, headed by Frank Nadaline.
The camera employed special direct-positive film cartridges, which themselves were manufactured by Ansco, and produced images only 5.5×8 cm in size. The sensitivity of this material was quite low, approximately ASA 10. This was not instant film, and also required proprietary processing.
Like Polaroid integral film, this material had an opaque backing and was exposed through its face. This required a mirror in the light path to yield images unreversed left-to-right, which the camera contained in its central "hump" (which also carried the flip-up flash reflector).
The selenium cell-controlled autoexposure was often unreliable, and the proprietary film type failed to catch on. As a result the cameras are often found with barely any wear; and much unsold old stock still in its original packaging has reached the collector market. At this point the main value of the camera is as a curiosity or as a textbook example of misjudged marketing.
Evidently the Harrison company survived the fiasco and continued in the photofinishing business, along with selling related supplies. In 1973 Frank Nadaline and his son Joseph were convicted of assaulting a former employee, and of threatening and vandalizing the competitor who had agreed to employ him.