Minex - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Minex

1909

Adams & Co.

London

England

Image of Minex

Lens:
f4.5, 150 mm Ross-Zeiss Tessar, iris diaphragm to f32. Serial no. 15981 (c. 1911).

Shutter:
Focal-plane, speeds 1/8 - 1/1000, T. Speeds varied by altering the slit width and choice of two tension springs.

Construction:
Leather covered mahogany body.

Format:
3 " x 4 " plates held in dark-slides.

Focusing:
Bellows to 2'. Double extension.

Attributes:
Reflex viewing through taking lens. Full-size ground glass screen. Magnifier in hood with external lever.
Setting the shutter lowers the mirror where it locks, mirror raised by spring.
Spirit level. Revolving back with automatic mask below focusing screen. Removable lens panel.

Identification:
Chrome knob on revolving back. Without 'fur' on hood.

Movements:
Rising front. Swing and tilt movements on lens box.

Serial Number:
629 .

Notes:
Address on camera: Adams & Co. 24 Charing Cross Rd London WC.

With:

  • Rear focusing screen in slot in top flap. 3 double dark-slides (1 - 6). Film pack adapter.
  • Changing box for 8 plates. With sheaths. Serial no. 1689.
  • Spare lens panel. Adapter for pneumatic release. Bulb release. Case.

Minex

Long Focus model

Adams & Co.

London

England

Image of Minex

Shutter:
Focal-plane, speeds 1/8 - 1/1000, T. Speeds varied by altering the slit width and a choice of two tension springs.

Construction:
Leather covered mahogany body.

Format:
3 " x 4 " plates held in dark-slides.

Focusing:
Bellows, double extension.

Attributes:
Reflex viewing through taking lens. Full-size ground glass screen. Magnifier in hood with external lever.
Setting the shutter lowers the mirror where it locks, mirror raised by spring.
Spirit level. Revolving back with automatic mask below focusing screen. Removable lens panel.

Identification:
Separate I & B T lever

Movements:
Rising front.

Serial Number:
550 .

Notes:
Address on camera: Adams & Co. 24 Charing Cross Rd London WC.

With:
Focusing screen . 4 double dark-slides.

The Minex was the successor to the Adams Videx, it was extremely well-made and had many features for the time. The shutter is set by a turn of a large knob which also sets the mirror. The shutter speeds are set on the same knob. Speed variation is by changing the slit width and the use of two differently tensioned springs. A revolving back was fitted which coupled to an automatically adjusted mask below the focusing screen. The front standard itself contained only a rising front. A four way swing front (swing and tilt) was provided by the lens panel. This had a screw adjustment which caused the lens to tilt, the panel could be turned through 90 degrees to give swing.

Models

The normal finish was a hard, black, leather. Tropical models were made in all sizes, these were of teak with brass binding and fittings, and brown Russia leather bellows and focusing hood.

The Minex was an expensive camera with many features, with this in mind the original model was renamed model A and a cheaper, model B, was introduced in 1911. The model B had a simpler revolving back, no automatic focusing screen mask and separate settings for mirror and shutter. Other features - rear focusing screen, four-way swing front, slow speed timer, were optional. When first sold the model B was called the Radex. It continued until the early 1920s.

In the BJA 1912 a model C is illustrated, this is a front shutter model, fitted with a Compound. A Bowden release is used to connect the shutter to the camera controls, a flap near the focal plane prevents light reaching the plate.

Lenses

Standard lenses were recessed into the body of the camera. The swing front panel was an open box into which the lens screwed. The other form was a normal flat panel into which a cone was screwed, the lens then screwed into the bottom of the cone. Both forms could be reversed to gain extra extension. Telephoto lenses were normally supplied on a flat panel without a cone.

Before World War I the normal lens would be a Zeiss Tessar later Ross lenses were recommended, Xpres or Combinable.

Sizes

Several sizes were produced:

  • 2 " x 3 ".
  • 3 " x 4 ".
  • 5" x 4".
  • 6 " x 4 ".
  • 5 " x 3 ".
  • 6 " x 3 " stereo.
  • 10 x 15 cm.

The post-card and stereo models were available from 1910. The 10 x 15 cm model was introduced in the late 1920s by which time the post-card and stereo models had been dropped.

Variations

Some minor variations of the original/model A exist:

  • The earliest illustrations show a camera without a removable plate around the shutter dial. This may have been a prototype (1909 only).
  • Early models have a 'fur' band around the top of the focusing hood, this was removed before World War I.
  • The shutter mechanism changed over time, the studs surrounding the shutter dial are in different positions and of different shape.
  • The earliest (1909 only) have an I, B, T selector. This was re-introduced in the Radex.
  • An I, B, T selector, different to above, was re-introduced around 1926. The throat size was also increased at this time.
  • In 1932 a mirror lock was included.
  • The catch for the revolving back is black and later chrome.
  • The spectacles in the hood at first dropped into grooves, later they were fixed, later still they had an arm which extended through the hood to raise or lower them.

Shutter Variants

There are four versions of the shutter as fitted to the Minex camera (it was also sold separately for attachment to other cameras):

  • First version, this corresponds to the patent description and illustrations in very early advertisements. It was very quickly replaced by the second version, certainly within a year. It has a separate I&B, T switch.
  • Second version, the I&B, T switch is removed on this version, the settings are made directly on the speed dial, thus one control knob sets the full range of speeds including B and T, tensions the shutter and lowers the mirror. The speeds are selected by lifting and turning the knob so that a pin engages different holes. The control knob has a solid top, external studs are at 6 and 5 o'clock.
  • Third version, this appeared before 1914. The control knob is retained by a slotted nut rather than being screwed to the shaft, external studs at 5 and 3 o'clock.
  • Fourth version, the I&B, T selector returns but with a different mechanism to the first version. The control knob is retained by a slotted nut, no external studs. This change took place in 1926.

References & Notes:
Minex shutter. BP 18260/1906 (swing front). BP 25849/1908. BP 2485/1907 (shutter). BP 27667/1909. BJA 1910, pp. 267, 631. BJA 1911, pp. 267, 677, 678. BJA 1912, pp. 283, 724. BJA 1927, p. 329. BJA 1929, pp. 104, 300. BJA 1932, p. 72. BJA 1951, p. 24. Phot. Journal 1909, p. xi. BJP 31/3/1911, p. 249.

Further Information:
Sci. Mus. Cat. p.84. A second-hand model C is advertised in the BJA 1917, p.213.

Illustrations:
Coe, Cameras, p.138. Christie's Cat. 27/5/1982, 320. Stereo Tropical model.


Company Details:

Adams & Co.

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