Vokar I

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The Vokar I camera had been designed by Richard Bills before WWII[1], and allegedly the Electronic Products Manufacturing Co. invested $250,000 in its development[2]. But during wartime, the company had diverted its resources into making bomb-fuse components[3], delaying the camera's manufacture.

In late 1945 the company renamed itself "Vokar" (after its existing line of photo products)[4]. The Vokar I camera was first advertised in January, 1946 photography magazines[5], disappeared for several months, and then finally resurfaced in the fall of 1946 at a price of $76.70[6].

The camera's sleek styling owed nothing to the boxy Argus C3 manufactured just 8 miles away; and for the era, its specification was quite ambitious. It offered single-eyepiece framing and rangefinder focus; shutter cocking coupled to the film advance; an f/2.8 lens (at a time when f/3.5 or f/4.5 were standard); and a full range of shutter speeds from 1 to 1/300 sec.

By 1948, the Vokar II camera appeared. The mechanical differences were extremely minor; and otherwise the appearance and specs of the camera were unchanged. The name "Vokar II" appears printed onto the front leatherette below the exposure-counter dial.

However the small Vokar Corporation failed to make much of a dent in the US camera market. Advertising became spotty after the initial launch; and the camera may have suffered from poor distribution. Sales were poor, and the Vokar rangefinder disappeared rather quickly, making it a bit of a rarity today.





Notes

  1. Lahue, Kalton C. and Bailey, Joseph A. Glass, brass, & chrome: the American 35mm miniature camera; University of Oklahoma Press, 2001. pgs. 284-285
  2. Lahue, Kalton C. and Bailey, Joseph A. Collecting Vintage Cameras Volume 1: The American 35mm. American Photographic Book Publishing Co., 1972. pg.154
  3. "Trade Notes and News" Popular Photography (US magazine), January 1946, pg. 64.
  4. "Available Now: The New Vokar Streamlined Projector" (advertisement) Popular Photography (US magazine), December 1945, pg. 137.
  5. "Excellence… Vokar I" (advertisement) Popular Photography (US magazine), January 1946, pg. 107.
  6. "Finest… Vokar I" (advertisement) Popular Photography (US magazine), November 1946, pg. 12
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