England 1937 – Compact – 127 film – Rare.
Certain designs possess such distinctive uniqueness that they can be attributed solely to British ingenuity. The Purma Special undeniably belongs to this remarkable category.
Conceived by artist Tom Purvis and inventor Alfred Croger Mayo, the Purma Special (a fusion of PURvis and MAyo) stands as an unparalleled camera, advertised as “the camera that’s years ahead.”
The camera’s every aspect exudes a singular, even eccentric character, commencing with its distinct diamond shape housing a retractable objective on its front. Crafted entirely from bakelite, the lens cap doubles as a mechanism for pushing the objective back into the camera body. The shutter button is discreetly situated in a recess on the camera’s top, preserving the sleek, unblemished design.
Operating the camera itself showcases further innovation – to cock the shutter, one must toggle a small switch on top of the objective and tilt the camera left or right to set the exposure time. This ingenuity stems from Mayo’s patent for a gravity-operated shutter, where an internal brass component shifts according to the camera’s angle, altering the distance between the shutter curtains.
The Purma Special emerges as an absolute oddity, a testament to the creative collaboration between two ingenious minds committed to introducing something genuinely novel and distinct. It stands as an extraordinary collectible.