Graflex Wins Again (in 1938)

Graflex Ad April 1938

Toronto. My friend George Dunbar sent me another whack of ads the end of last month (April 2017). One ad stuck out for me since Popular Photography magazine, founded in  1937,  had recently closed its magazine doors.

The ad featured a Grafex camera, the preferred instrument of North American news hounds. If you didn’t use a massive camera in the 1930s (or earlier), you weren’t a real photographer! In fact, the recently released Leica of the day spent its time convincing photographers you could get a decent picture using a small camera with its “small negative, big picture” campaign.

In the April 1938 Popular Photography magazine, this Graflex ad touted a prize winning photograph taken by Howard Robbins for the Oakland CA Post-Enquirer newspaper. Robbins snapped the ship Ohioan as it was fatally awash with ocean seas off San Francisco late in 1936 using his Series B Graflex and a telephoto lens.

The theme of the ad was that you had to have an American-made Graflex to win awards, and make money (talent isn’t mentioned, of course). The ad suggests a ‘penny postcard’ will be enough to get you a catalogue of the Graflex cameras and accessories!

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