Portrait Hawkeye A-Star-A Camera
|Name:||Portrait Hawkeye A-Star-A|
|Country of Origin:||UK|
|Construction:||Conventional box camera with a leatherette covered metal body, and twin reflecting finders. The camera divides just behind the viewfinders, with the back section released by two pivoted catches and pulling out the winding key. Removing the rear section then reveals the film carrier assembly, allowing the film to be removed / loaded.|
|Production Period:||1931 - 1933 (TBC)|
|Plate / Film Size:||620 rollfilm|
|Lens:||Meniscus with portrait attachment that can be swung into place in front of the lens|
|Dimensions (w x h x l):||8 x 11 x 14.5 cm|
|Date of this Example:||c1932|
The Portrait Hawkeye A-Star-A box camera is of a conventional format, made in relatively cheap materials (leatherette over a cardboard body) but this example is finished in blue rather than black. This particular example is in very good condition.
This camera has also been seen finished in brown, but it is likely that it was produced in other colours.
Since the camera carries the "Hawkeye" name, it is likely that it was used for premium schemes although I have as yet to find any evidence to confirm this. The camera is identified in McKeown , with a statement that this was for premium use.
The Portrait Hawkeye A-Star-A camera is very similar in form to the Portrait Hawkeye Star, which was also available in a number of colours as well as black and also used 620 film.
Both cameras are shown side by side in the photograph below.
There are a few minor differences between the two models, as follows:
- The Portrait Hawkeye Star has a winder key rather than a winder knob seen here on the A-Star-A
- The shutter release lever has a nickel plated guard on the A-Star-A, which is entirely absent on the Star
- Bezels are mounted around the circular viewfinder holes on the front face of the A-Star-A, but are absent on the Star
These differences, especially the first two, lead me to speculate that the A-Star-A is the later of the two models, and possibly a replacement for the Star. 620 film was introduced in 1931, so a best guess based on this simple evidence is that the Star was introduced in 1931, but was perhaps replaced by the A-Star-A in 1932?
Most cigarette premium schemes were wound up at the end of 1933 (refer to the article about (MayFair premium cameras for further details), although the cameras could have been produced over a longer period for other premium schemes.
If you have any information about use of either of the Portrait Hawkeye models in premium schemes, please contact me.