Mansfield

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Mansfield Industries[1] was a Chicago-based company that distributed movie cameras, projectors, accessories and imported cameras which were rebadged with its logo or name from the late 1950’s into the mid-1960’s. It manufactured some products at its own Spring Grove, Minnesota facilities[2]. Its various product lines had names like ‘Fairfield’, ‘Holiday’, ’Skylark’, ’Starlite’ and ‘Ultra’.

In April, 1962 Mansfield Industries bought Argus from General Telephone and Electronics. (In 1961 GTE had purchased Sylvania, owner of Argus Camera since 1957.) Industry observers found this a curious development, as Mansfield was a much smaller player in the photo industry, mostly known for inexpensive imports serving the home-movie market[2]. Mansfield appropriated the better-known Argus name and named itself as a division of Argus.

Mansfield moved the Argus/Mansfield headquarters to Chicago, Illinois, although some manufacturing continued at the Ann Arbor, Michigan facilities for a few months longer[3]. In 1965 Sylvania reacquired Argus. Without its main product base, Mansfield Industries disappeared from the market[4].

Cameras

  • The most widely-distributed Mansfield camera models were branded as Mansfield Skylark (and described in that article).
  • A 1962 35mm rangefinder camera distributed the company was the Mansfield Eye-Tronic, rebadged from the Mamiya EE Super Merit[5], with Mantinar 40mm / f2.8-f16, shutter speeds 1/30s to 1/250s.
  • The Mansfield Automatic 127 is a plastic box camera with an integral flash reflector, taking 4x4 photos on 127 film.
  • Mansfield Holiday II 8mm movie camera

Notes

  1. The company name was not Mansfield Holiday, as mistakenly notated in McKeown‘s.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gambino, Henry J. Argomania: A Look At Argus Cameras and the Company That Made Them. Doylestown, PA: Aeone Communications 2005. ISBN 0-9770507-0-X
  3. The buildings still exist, and the main former factory (owned by C3 Partners, William Martin and Joe O’Neal) houses the Argus Camera Museum, founded by the late Gene & George O'Neal. The building is at 535 W. William St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 and the museum display is the second floor lobby
  4. "The Argus Museum—Ann Arbor's Hidden Treasure"(PDF) By Henry Gambino, PhD (author of Argomania); from James M. Surprenant Photography
  5. Sugiyama/Naoi “Collectors Guide to Japanese Cameras“ code #3393, p.181.
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