as good as a nod

c 1929 Leitz WINKO right angle viewer accessory

Toronto. So called detective cameras became popular once the speed of dry plate technology allowed hand held use in day light. The camera itself was built into or enclosed by various satchels, leather boxes, purses, etc.

At our December, 2003 ‘Show and Tell‘ meeting, an excited Bill Kantymir showed us his very rare 1889 Dr Krugener detective camera that he had picked up on the way to the meeting. It was a wooden glass plate camera housed in a black leather case. While rather large to our eyes, with no tripod attached, people of the era would not suspect it being a camera.

When the tiny Leica went on the market and began the minicam revolution, a need for added lenses and accessories became apparent. To meet the ‘detective’ aspirations, Leitz came up with a fancy right angle viewer so the photographer would seem to look away from his target subject.

The earliest version of this viewer with a large thermo-plastic (Bakelite) black eyepiece was offered in 1929 to fit a none rangefinder Leica. You don’t have a WINKO in your collection? You are in luck, a beautiful c1929 model WINKO in the original leather case will be auctioned at our Port Colborne auction on June 25 & 26!

NB. The title of this post is a riff on the old saying, ‘a nod is as good as a wink‘.

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