the first 35mm camera was?

Part of Jack Naylor’s collection
showing pre-Leica
35mm film cameras

Toronto. The late Thurman “Jack” Naylor of Massachusetts was a famous and well known collector of cameras and photographica in the States. In May of 1991 we had the pleasure of hosting Jack in Toronto where he gave a speech  to the PHSC after we enjoyed a dinner in his honour. Mo Patz was our president. Mark Singer was both our past president and author of Toronto Notes. Bob Lansdale was our official photographer and I acted as membership secretary. While John Alldredge was programs by the time the meeting was recorded in our journal, Les Jones had arranged for Jack’s talk when he was programs some months earlier.

As part of that talk on his (first) collection, Jack handed out to the audience of 50+ a brochure he wrote for the  PHSNE and later was published as an insert in the LHSA’s Viewfinder magazine. The brochure was titled “A New Look at the Old 35”.

In the summer of 1980, Leitz made  a lot of noise in its advertisements that Leica was the first camera to use 35mm film. While many sources credited the tiny Leica as the first 35mm film camera to be popular, at least 27 35mm film cameras preceded its entry in the marketplace in 1925, many of which were included in Jack’s well documented collection!

He published this brochure to clarify facts on early 35mm cameras. The Photographic Historical Society of New England, the Leica Historical Society of America, and our PHSC were logical recipients of Jack’s wisdom and research. And the first 35mm camera? The earliest recorded 35mm camera is the patent by Dr Alberto Lleo of Spain recorded on March 9th, 1908!



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