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Mansfield Skylark

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Photo credit: : Diana Houlihan, Some Rights Reserved [1]

Skylark was the name for no less than four rebadged cameras distributed by Mansfield Industries of Chicago, Illinois:

  • the 1957 Skylark, rebadged from the Argon[1] rangefinder camera which was the export version of the Windsor 35 by Toko Photographic Works. This rangefinder camera featured a 45mm / f1.9 lens, shutter speeds B, 1s to 1/500s.
  • the 1957 Skylark E was a Royal 35M by Royal Camera Company, rebadged for Mansfield. Like the 35M, this rangefinder camera had a Tominar 45mm / f1.9-f16 lens, shutter speeds B, 1s to 1/500s with an uncoupled selenium meter,
  • the 1957 Skylark V, from the Royal 35P, was a meterless rangefinder camera with a Cimenar 45mm / f1.9-f16 lens, shutter speeds B, 1s to 1/300s.
  • the 1961 Mansfield Skylark was a slightly modified Palmat Automatic by Yamato Optical Company. This last Skylark was an fixed-focus automatic-exposure viewfinder camera with coupled selenium meter, Mantar or Luminor 40mm / f4 lens, shutter speeds B, 1/10s to 1/200s. It does not take a battery, its selenium meter was driven by light alone. Exposure compensation was set by a lever on the numbered scale on the lens, based on an ASA/DIN film guide inset on the camera’s lift-off back. This was the only Skylark that was actually engraved with “Mansfield” as well as the “MI” crest logo seen on the earlier versions.

The best little camera that no one's heard of! It is pretty easy to use, but I haven't been able to develop a complete roll yet as the winding mechanism tends to tear the film! (writes Camerapedia editor Dhoulihan)

A great 100% manual rangefinder. This Skylark V was in very unusable condition when it came my way. Now a very nice & worthwhile addition. Nice photographs come from this camera. (writes Camerapedia editor Valdormar)

Mansfield Industries Edit

This may be the place to describe Mansfield Industries[2]. It was a Chicago-based company that distributed movie cameras, projectors, accessories and imported cameras which were rebadged with its logo or name from the late 1950’s into the mid-1960’s. Its various product lines had names like ‘Fairfield’, ‘Holiday’, ’Skylark’, ’Starlite’ and ‘Ultra’.

In 1962 Mansfield Industries bought Argus from General Telephone and Electronics (which had acquired Sylvania, with its 1957 Argus holdings, in 1961). Mansfield appropriated the better-known Argus name and named itself as a division of Argus. It moved the Argus/Mansfield headquarters to Chicago, Illinois, although some manufacturing facilities stayed in Ann Arbor, Michigan[3]. In 1965 Sylvania reacquired Argus. Without its main product base, Mansfield Industries disappeared from the market[4]. Side note: a later 35mm rangefinder camera distributed by Mansfield was the 1962 Eye-Tronic, rebadged from the Mamiya EE Super Merit[5], with Mantinar 40mm / f2.8-f16, shutter speeds 1/30s to 1/250s.

Additional Pictures Edit

Photo credit: : Diana Houlihan, Some Rights Reserved [2]

Photo credit: : Diana Houlihan, Some Rights Reserved [3]

Photo credit: : Diana Houlihan, Some Rights Reserved [4]

Photo credit: : Diana Houlihan, Some Rights Reserved [5]

Notes and ReferencesEdit

  1. Sugiyama/Naoi “Collector’s Guide to Japanese Cameras” code #3099, p.140.
  2. The company name was not Mansfield Holiday, as mistakenly notated in McKeown‘s.
  3. Which still exist and house the Argus Camera Museum, George and Gene O’Neal founders, through C3 Partners William Martin and Joe O’Neal. 535 W. Williams St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
  4. Henry J Gambino, PhD, “The Argus Museum—Ann Arbor’s Hidden Treasure”
  5. Sugiyama/Naoi “Collectors Guide to Japanese Cameras“ code #3393, p.181.

Links Edit

Sample Image Galleries Edit

PBase sample photos[6]

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