Old Tech Friday

Greetings! ‘Tis Rob with my Friday entry for “Our So-Called Life” (can I call it OSCL?) I plan to write every Friday about a piece of old technology that has been adopted into our daily lives. Most of it is technology available in the 1930s. Why the 1930s? Simple, much of it rather lends itself to frugality. The rest of it? Pure whimsy.

Today I would like to kick off Old Tech Friday (OTF?) with something close to home. And so, without further adieu, I introduce to you, the Argus C-3.

Argus C3

Argus C3

What we have here might not look like much, but for those of you who live in Michigan, this is very special. It is the Argus C3 35mm camera produced in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The body is constructed of Bakelite ; it features a range finder for focusing, an f3.5 50mm lens, and a seven speed shutter (9 if you count the I and B settings!).

There are two things in my opinion that make this camera remarkable. First off, it was a 35mm camera made in the USA (as opposed to Germany or Japan). There were others, but none that were nearly as successful.

Second, they are nearly indestructible. The shutter is a simple and robust design as well as the range finder. Produced from 1939 to 1966 there are a great deal of them still around, and they can be had for $5-$15. Why buy an Argus C3? Sure it’s film, and it’s admittedly a clunky, heavy piece. But, it’s one of the few American made cameras that support a modern format, it will literally last forever, and if you wear it on vacation, the striking chrome accents against the shining black body will be certain to draw attention.

Look for Argus C3s in the folowing movies: Backdraft, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

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