Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Super May Fair Folding Camera

Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co Ltd.

Name: Super May Fair Folding Camera
Type: Folding Rollfilm Camera
Manufacturer: Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co Ltd. (see text)
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Leather covered pressed steel body in two parts forming the front and back sections. Black crackle finish to the inside face of the baseboard. Distinctive black & chrome design to the faceplate around the lens. Wire sports finder with rear sight that slides up on the back as well as conventional viewfinder.
Production Period: Unknown, but likely a limited production run in 1932 - 1933

 

Plate / Film Size: 3" x 2" rollfilm
Lens: "Gloria" Anastigmat f6.3
Shutter: T, B & I three speed shutter (1/25, 1/50, 1/100)
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l): 8.5 x 16 x 3 cm
Date of this Example: c1933
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 408

Image of Super May Fair folding camera

Description

This camera is marked as "The Super May Fair REGD Camera" on the base of the lens board. This may be another Houghton-Butcher version as it has many characteristics in common with carbine cameras (see below). The only other marking is "Made in England" inside the back, which also carries a label declaring that it will take any 3"x 2"film.

The Super May Fair has a geometric art deco style design on the faceplate (in very good order), leather bellows and leather covering to camera body. It has a sports finder (excellent condition) and a conventional viewfinder and is equipped with a 3-speed shutter and "Gloria" f6.3 Anastigmat lens.

Image of Super May Fair folding camera

There are a number of characteristics of this camera that provide evidence to show that this was also made by Houghton-Butcher. In particular, a distinctive feature is the patented film spool holders (patent number 281802) that are common on other Houghton-Butcher cameras such as the All Distance Pocket Ensign No 2. The tripod mount on the baseboard and the side struts that support the baseboard are also identical to those found on other cameras by this maker, as is the metal lens standard (albeit that this model has a sports finder added). The tripod mount on the side of the camera and various raised detail on the inside of the body are also identical.

Image of Super May Fair folding camera

The camera appears to be an adaptation of the No 3 Ensign Carbine, also made by Houghton-Butcher.

This Super May Fair camera is shown in the Ardath Tobacco Company gift catalogue and is the highest value of the three folding cameras; it required as many coupons as a child's bike! Case extra. The other two examples shown are the May Fair camera with the 'eye' symbol on the face plate (the most common folding May Fair variant) and now described as the "De Luxe" model, and the unmarked and quite basic May Fair model.

Notes

There are two May Fair cameras that turn up regularly: the May Fair Portrait box camera with crackle finish and the May Fair Folding camera with the 'eye' emblem on the lens surround. However, there are two other folding cameras that I know of (this one and the basic May Fair folding model) as well as another box camera based upon the Houghton-Butcher E29 box camera.

Further information about the group of cameras that were available through the Ardath Tobacco Company premium scheme and the premium scheme itself can be found on the page dedicated to the May Fair premium scheme.