Memo – 60/99

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United States 1927 – Box Camera – 35 mm – Infrequent.

The Ansco Memo is an unusual 35 mm half-frame box camera introduced in 1927 by Ansco.

At first glance the Memo may look like nothing more than a simple box camera like so many others mass produced in the 1920s, but in reality, it is way more than that : The Memo introduced a new (and quite modern) type of film system

At the time, there was no standardized 35 mm cartridge, making the box cameras often complicated to operate. To solve that issue, Ansco developed its own rectangular proprietary film cassette (called the Memo cartridge). Two cassettes (one full and one empty) are to be placed face-to-face in the back of the camera. After every exposure, the film is carried from one cassette to the other by sliding downward the silver knob located on the back of the camera. This fast sliding motion is very different and more efficient than the usual sprockets used by the cameras of the time. In the same motion an exposure counter would advance on the front of the camera.

This innovation allowed the Memo not only to have a very compact and vertical shape but to be extremely quick and reliable in its operations, making it pretty popular. The Memo is one of the few (if not the only) box camera you can shoot and reload with only one hand.

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