International Radio Corporation

Argus A series cameras

Toronto. In the 1930s, a small company in Ann Arbor, Michigan began manufacture of the latest, greatest thing – home radios. Their fresh egg was using Bakelite plastic for cabinets instead of expensive wood or metal cabinets. Their less expensive radio – the AC/DC mantle model Kadette radio took off.

Later in the 1930s the company began making cameras using their Bakelite expertise and the 35 mm cassette used by Kodak for its Kodachrome film.  The very popular Argus A was quickly followed by other models in the series, competing with the Kodak box cameras and folders of the day. They marketed a high end series best known for the Argus C3. The company changed its name to International Research Corporation, and later to Argus Camera (still existing today).

The 1939-41 Argus A2F model as advertised in LIFE in 1939 had a built-in extinction meter, and adjustable focus from infinity down to 15 inches, rather than the more common 3 feet. The shutter release was unique too. On the lens barrel, it could be rotated for right or left hand users! Thanks to George Dunbar for sourcing the old April 3, 1939 LIFE advertisement on page 82 of that issue (lots of pre WW2 coverage too).

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