swinging ’60s

A Polaroid Swinger ad c1966

Toronto. The swinging ’60s! What a glorious time to be alive! In that era Polaroid introduced it’s most popular camera of all, the Swinger. This simplified camera took black and white photos, developed outside the camera and gave you a print just 10 seconds after you snapped the shutter!

Squeeze and turn the shutter plunger and the built-in extinction meter tells you when the camera is correctly set. The lens is a simple one element meniscus. There is even a built-in flash for AG-1 bulbs. A plastic body and wrist cord made it attractive to the young and it competed well with Kodak’s offerings of the 1960s. The user manual is available through Mike Butkus’s site

Used, these cameras today are a dime a dozen (so many were made back then). Polaroid, like Kodak, probably made more profit from their film than the cheap cameras that consumed them. Modern day digital cameras and smart phones with instantaneous full colour images make the black and white 10 second prints of the 1960s seem very quaint and antiquated.

This ad from page 2 of the April 22, 1966 issue of LIFE magazine shows off the newly introduced Swinger. A big thank you is in order for fellow PHSC member George Dunbar who shared this bit of photographic history with me.


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