a beacon in the dark

Nov 1947 ad for Beacon Camera

Toronto. Another American company, Whitehouse Products, in Brooklyn took a shot at the American photography market with its cheap plastic camera, the Beacon.

The Beacon was simply a box camera tarted up like a minicam. It retailed for about 8 years as the Beacon and Beacon II. The specifications suggest it was like Kodak’s Baby Brownie which at least was box-like in shape and sold as a simple box camera.

A lot of different plastic camera models came on market after WW2 but all sank out of sight over a short time as German and then Japanese firms wiped out the aspirations of American camera makers, except models from the mighty Kodak Company.

As you can see in this ad, even a ‘simulated leather case’ was offered – just like the minicams had. Yes, it may have looked like a minicam but at heart it was just a simple box camera – and half frame at that.

I owe a big thanks once again to my good friend and fellow PHSC member, George Dunbar, for finding and sharing this bit of photographic history. By the way, coloured versions went for far more than the plain black models according to McKeown’s 11th editon price guide from 2001/2.

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