What a treat this week’s camera was to research. Given to me by a friend of my Fiancé’s friend (Amy, her blog is here at The Little Bean Sprout). She had noticed the write ups I was doing on old cameras, and in conversation told me about a really small, vintage camera that she had found in her attic. I asked her if I could borrow it, take some photos and do a write up on the camera. She nicely agreed!
History of Galter Products Co.
I’ll be honest, it was pretty challenging to find information about this camera. Galter, the company that made the camera, was founded by a Chicago businessman named Jack Galter who started an electronic manufacturing company named Spartus in the 1930’s making mainly radios and razors (Chicago Tribune).
Jack later went on to produce small bakelite style cameras, and synchronized flash systems in collaboration and under the names of such companies as Monarck, Majestic, Utility Manufacturing Company of New York, Spartus, and his own brand name, Galter Products Co. – check out these awesome early patents, here and here.
Regal 50mm Candid Style Camera
Again, history for this camera was hard to find, but I did discover a lot of cool stuff!
In 1949, Wheaties Cereal had a contest in which for 55 cents, and a box top, one could send away for a Regal 50mm Candid Style Camera (for another 25 cents, you would be given a leather case with neck strap). The camera was geared toward children – measuring only 3″ long x 2″ tall x 1.5″ deep, equipped with a 50mm fixed lens, children would be able to take easy snapshots. The contest, as described in the advert I found here, on page 56, asked children to “Enter the photos taken with their ‘Regal’ Candid Style Camera” to win a trip to the 1949 World Series in New York city, with seats at both games. More, the winner, would be named the LOOK magazine Junior Photographer at the World Series, and be able to photograph the teams playing. HOW COOL IS THIS?!
I did some research and discovered that the winner of this contest was a 7 year old boy from Chattanooga, TN named Jere Whaley (2neat.com). I was unable to find any pictures of him, but I know they were published in the the December 6, 1949 issue of LOOK MAGAZINE. According to Stanley Kubrick’s book on LOOK MAGAZINE, this issue “shows Jere enjoying a hot dog in the baseball stadium, but also taking pictures with the camera that won him the prize” (page 220, Stanley’s Book).
Here is the 1949 issue in which Jere is supposedly pictured in
What stands out with this camera
The camera takes what is referred to as “Vest Pocket Film”, a term I had never heard of. But I looked it up and discovered that this referred to 127 Film, a roll film introduce by Kodak in 1912 for their Vest Pocket Camera. 46mm wide, finding itself between standard 35mm and 120mm format film, a typical roll allowed 16 exposures (Camerapedia).
Another part of this camera that I can’t find any information about is that the placement of two holes on the backside, that were filled with green, filter type pieces of plastic (pictured below).
Picture of the hole openings on the backside of camera, including the green plastic filter pieces (one is missing)
I was unable to find any photos taken with this camera, and I discovered that Kodak stopped making 127 film in 1995. If anyone has any photos taken with camera, or photos of Jere, please share them!