OTAG

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OTAG (Österreichisches Telefon AG) was a maker of telephones and radio sets in Vienna in the early 20th century.[1] The company is known for only one camera, from about 1925 to 1930. It is a simple viewfinder camera for 35 mm cine film, invented by Jacques Singer.[2][3] This was mostly sold as the Amourette, but Collection Appareils shows the same camera (or a very similar one) named the Lutin, and suggests this name was only used in France.[1] This may have been simply a matter of good taste (an 'amourette' is a love affair in French, so perhaps the name was thought indelicate in France, while a lutin is an elf, or even a brownie).

The Amourette makes images 31x33 mm[4] on perforated 35 mm film in special cassettes; 50 exposures can be made on a full cassette of film.[2]

The camera has a metal body, D-shaped in plan, with the lens mounted on the curved front, and the back of the camera flat. There is a panel of leather covering around the lens; otherwise the camera is simply painted. The perforated film is passed from a cartridge on the supply side to another on the uptake side, like the later Agfa Rapid system. The film advance mechanism is built into the back plate (the rest of the body, with the lens and shutter, is removed for loading). The film is advanced by pulling a tab at one end of the back, which activates a claw which pulls the film by the perforations.

Most examples seen have a 35 mm f/6.3 Double Miniscope, Extra-Rapidoptik, Laack Dialytar or Meyer Trioplan (all with aperture stops at f/6.3 and f/11.6), and a three-speed everset shutter (1/25 - 1/100 second).[4][5][6][7] A camera was sold at Westlicht with a Meyer Helioplan 4 cm f/4.5 and a Compur shutter, however.[8][9]

A Lutin with a 3.5 cm f/6.3 Meyer Trioplan was sold by Christie's.[10]

There is a folding frame-finder on the top of the camera, and it has a tripod bush set in the bottom.


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 OTAG Lutin at Collection Appareils.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Thurman F. Naylor (1980), A New Look at the Old 35mm. Cameras and Images International (publishers). ASIN B0006Y96TG.
  3. French Patent 583975, Appareil photographique à pellicules, filed July 1924 and granted January 1925, and British Patent 241455, Improvements in photographic cameras, kinematographic cameras and projecting apparatus, filed March 1925 and granted October 1925, both to Jacques Singer; at Espacenet, the patent search facility of the European Patent Office; there are also Swiss and Austrian patents for the camera, a German one describing the film-feed mechanism, and a French one describing the film cassette.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The image size is reported as 31x33 mm in almost all sources, including Collection Appareils and Westlicht, but the Hungarian Photographic Museum shows an Amourette (serial no. 1319), with Double Miniscope and three-speed patent shutter, and gives its image size as 24 mm square.
  5. Amourette serial no. 1651, with 3.5 cm f/6.3 Extra-Rapidoptik, sold at Sale 9002 - Cameras and Photographic Equipment, 16 January 2001, by Christie's.
  6. Amourette serial no. 1993, with 3.5 cm f/6.3 Double Miniscope and three-speed shutter, sold with a metal case and instruction book at the Seventh Westlicht Photographica Auction, in May 2005.
  7. Amourette serial no. 1034, with 3.5 cm f/6.3 Laack Dialytar and three-speed shutter, also sold at the Seventh Westlicht auction; the bezel of the lens identifies it as a Dialytar, but the shutter plate is marked 'Extra-Rapidoptik'.
  8. Amourette serial no. 5125, with Meyer 4 cm f/4.5 Helioplan and dial-set Compur shutter, sold together with a rather similar and slightly earlier camera, the Photorette, also Austrian, at the 25th Westlicht auction, in March 2014.
  9. Amourette serial no. 3894, with 3.5 cm f/6.3 Meyer Trioplan (no picture of the camera), sold at Sale 8945 - Cameras and Optical Toys, 18 March 1999, by Christie's.
  10. Lutin serial no. 4688, with Meyer 3.5 cm f/6.3 Trioplan (no picture of the camera), sold at Sale 6270 - Cameras and Optical Toys, 14 October 1993 by Christie's.