Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Rajar No 6

APeM (Amalgamated Photographic Manufacturers)

Name: Rajar No 6 Folding Camera
Manufacturer: APeM (Amalgamated Photographic Manufacturers)
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: This was one of the first cameras produced that was moulded in bakelite, first appearing in 1929, based on a design patented by C. Kershaw and APM Ltd in February of that year (Coe [3], p107).

All three main components (body, removable back and lens standard) are moulded separately in black bakelite.

There are a number of minor variations in the design. Differences that I am aware of are:

a) The winder can be a key or a bar.

b) The camera may have an adapter to allow it to take conventional 120 rollfilm. The Rajar No 6 rollfilm from which the camera gets its name, had a spool with a square drive slot with which the winder engages.

Lens: Meniscus
Shutter: Simple T & I rotary shutter
Dimensions (h x l x w): 6 x 1 x 3"
Production Period: 1929 - ?
Availability:
  • Common [x]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Image of BDV Coupon, Rajar No 6 Folding Camera Image of BDV Coupon, Rajar No 6 Folding Camera

This camera was generally (and possibly exclusively) distributed through premium schemes. The images to the left show a scan of the two sides of a premium token for this camera from Godfrey Phillips (makers of cigarettes and other tobacco products) dating to 1930.

The description makes for interesting reading. It states ...

"A superb "Rajar" Folding Camera of the type used by Press photographers."

One of the examples in my collection provides further proof of its use as a premium as it came with the remnants of the original postage box. This carries a senders address for Godfrey Phillips Ltd.

Plate / Film Size: SELO roll film stock No 6 (2 x 3)
Date of this Example: c1930
Serial Number: None
Inventory Number: 311

Description

The inside back of this camera is marked with match box label sized advert for SELO roll film stock No 6, with APEM Ltd shown (so the camera was produced after the split up of APM - refer to the notes below).

This example has the metal insert needed to convert a standard 120 spool to fit the square drive winder key.

This example is in very good condition - about the best I have seen. Chrome remains in good order, even on the struts. However, there is a very slight chip out of lens surround.

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Plate / Film Size: Rajar No 6 (2 x 3)
Date of this Example: c1930
Serial Number: None
Inventory Number: 448

Description

The camera is complete with the remnants of the outer packaging, which is in the form of a corrugated cardboard postage box, with the senders address still clearly legible. "With Compliments GODFREY PHILLIPS Ltd., 112 Commercial Street, E1".

The camera itself is in fair condition - although a little grubby. There is some corrosion on the chrome struts and the triangular Rajar badge.

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Plate / Film Size: Rajar No 6 (2 x 3)
Date of this Example: c1930
Serial Number: None
Inventory Number: 611

Description

The camera is in good condition with only very minor corrosion and no damage to the bakelite body. This example differs to the previous two only in that the triangular Rajar badge has a red background rather than black.

This example has the original Rajar film spool fitted with the raised boss end and square locating hole that engages with the winder bar.

<Photographs to be added>

Notes

It can be a challenge to find an example of this camera in good condition. It is not uncommon for there to be damage to the bakelite and usually the nickel plating on the struts has started to corrode.

Other examples of bakelite cameras include the Kodak Hawkette No 2, Coronet Vogue and Soho Cadet.

The history of Amalgamated Photographic Manufacturers is a little complicated. Channing & Dunn [2] provides a good summary.

The company was registered in 1921 as a result of merger of 7 companies who produced various photographic products; the most significant of these were A Kershaw & Sons Ltd and Marion & Co. However it is apparent that this was not a successful operation and subsequently the part of the business that dealt with photographic film & paper (including Rajar, Paget and Marion) was split off to form APEM Ltd in February 1929, which itself was then absorbed into the Ilford group in 1932. The companies that remained under APM Ltd were also to change and started trading as Soho Ltd from July 1929.

The logo adopted by Amalgamated Photographic Manufacturers was a stylised 'APM' within a circular border.  However, the trademark for their cameras was APEM, but this was simplified to APeM, as shown on both cameras on this page. So the badge seen on the cameras relates to the trademark for APM Ltd (later Soho Ltd) rather than to APEM Ltd.

Apparently there is a red variant of this camera (according to McKeown [1]), but I have never seen one and I am increasingly doubtful that such a variant exists.