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SPEED-O-MATIC Corp. - Speed-O-Matic (c.1948)

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Bakelite cameras
The same year as the Polaroid rollfilm appears on the market, the Speed-O-Matic Corporation (Boston - MA) introduces a bakelit camera and its development kit : the Speed-O-Matic.


Speed-O-Matic

The technical characteristics of this camera are very common : meniscus lens and guillotine shutter. A notched wheel embedded within the basis of the lens is used to select one of the five apertures offered.

In fact, the interest of the Speed-O-Matic stays in its photographic process.
Its commercial slogan could have been "Why makes it simple when it can be complex ?".

While Kodak is marketing for ages always more sophisticated photographic film and that the Polaroid film is called to a great success, the eleven steps of the Speed-O-Matic development process appear like a joke.

User Manual Speed-O-Matic : coming soon (my scanner is dead !)
This camera uses a direct-positive paper in film pack of 12 photos which can be loaded in day-light. The procedure was the following :
bulletLoad the pack into the camera.
bulletShoot the first picture.
bulletRemove the pack, flip it and reload it into the camera.
bulletShoot the second picture.
bulletRemove the pack.
bulletPlug the pack onto the special development tank.
bulletUsing the sliding shaft ("Injector"), move the two exposed photographic paper sheets into the development tank.
bulletWithout unplugging  the film pack from the development tank, fill this one with solution 1 and let operate 2 minutes. Then, empty the solution 1 and rinse the tank with cold water.
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Fill the tank with solution 2, let operate 1 minute. Then, empty tank and rinse it with cold water.

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Fill the tank with solution 3, let operate 45 seconds. Then, empty tank and rinse it with cold water.

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Fill the tank with solution 4, let operate 1 minute. Then, empty tank and rinse it with cold water.


Speed-O-Matic developpement kit

This procedure was requesting to return to the bathroom sink every two pictures. Well, think about taking wedding's snapshots with this kind of camera... No way !

The commercial career of the Speed-O-Matic was just a fiasco until its factory owner (renamed DOVER Film Corp.) decided to convert this box to the film 620 formt. Thus, this camera had a second life under the designation of Dover 620A.

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