The Silver is a derivative of the Boltax. It has the same body with rounded edges, the same focusing helical graduated in metres down to 2/3m, and the same back door hinged to the left, used to make film loading easier and to set the position of the first exposure. The main metal parts are nickel-plated, the same as on the Boltax I and early Boltax III. The name Silver is embossed in the covering of the back door.
The shutter is the same as on the Boltax I. It has the release lever on one side and the winding lever on the other. The shutter plate is black, has the speeds engraved at the top in the order 100, 50, 25, B, silver stripes on the sides and the name PICNY D inscribed at the bottom. The shutters were perhaps taken from old stocks of parts. The lens is a Silver Anastigmat 40mm f/4.5. Old stocks of Picner Anastigmat 40mm f/4.5 lenses originally made for the Boltax were perhaps reused after changing the lens bezel only.
The covering of the back
door was probably replaced
image by Rick Soloway (Image rights)
The film is loaded through the bottom plate, the reverse of the regular Boltax. The bottom plate has two film flanges, a tripod thread and a locking key with O and L indications (for Open and Locked), shaped about the same as the top opening key of the Boltax. Unlike the Boltax, no serial number is visible on the bottom plate, or elsewhere on the body.
The top plate is attached by four screws. It has a torpedo-shaped optical finder offset to the right, as seen by the photographer, the same as on the Boltax. There is a film flange further to the right, with no accessory shoe, the same as on the Boltax I. The film is advanced by a knob at the top left, placed above a small metal casing containing an auto-stop mechanism. Frame numbers 1 to 12 are engraved on the base of the advance knob, facing an index on the metal casing. There is a small lever protruding to the rear of the casing, used to unlock the film advance after each exposure.
The Silver was advertised in Japanese magazines from May 1947 to March 1948. The December 1947 advertisement in Kohga Gekkan was placed by the distributor Murakami Shōkai. It shows absolutely no detail, and does not mention the name of the manufacturer.
Origin of the camera
The maker of the Silver is not known for sure. The most plausible candidate, given by various sources, is Miyagawa Seisakusho, the maker of the Boltax. Miyagawa is known to have released a complete redesign of the Boltax called the Picny B in late 1948, distributed by Chiyoda Shōkai, and it was certainly the owner of the "Picny" brand, also found in the "Picny D" shutter name.
It seems that the design of the Boltax and Silver was transferred to the company Hagimoto Shōkai founded by Hagimoto Danji. A plant was set up in Suwa and the cameras became the Dan 35 I and II, released in 1948. (Some sources say that the manufacturer of the Dan 35 cameras was the company Yamato Kōki, see the discussion in Hagimoto.) The Dan 35 II is very similar to the Silver and retains the same auto-stop advance mechanism, but it has a better chrome-plated finish, and various details indicate that it was made after the Silver.
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.352.
- Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.140.
- Sugiyama, item 4262, McKeown, p.693, attribute the Silver to Miyagawa.
- Sugiyama, item 4196, and Lewis, p.60, say that the Dan 35 I was released in 1946, but this is probably a mistake. According to Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.354, the earliest known advertisement for the Dan 35 I is dated February 1948, and the camera was featured in the new products column of Kohga Gekkan on the same month.
- 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. Item 535.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). P.693.
- 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 4262.
- Takesaki Harutoshi (竹崎春年). "Boruta-han kamera no subete [katarogu]" (ボルタ判カメラのすべて[カタログ], All Bolta-size cameras [catalogue]). In Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.21, June 1992. No ISBN number. Kurashikku kamera daikenkyū (クラシックカメラ大研究, studies on classic cameras). Pp.95–105.