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Pontiac Bakélite

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The Pontiac Bakélite was a 6x9 folding camera made by the French maker Pontiac from 1938 to 1941. As its name implied, the body was made of bakelite, usually dark brown with black bellows. It had a brilliant finder.

The German company Ebner had developed a very similar folding bakelite camera in 1934, but went down in 1935. Some people say the tooling was ceded to the French maker Gallus (see Gallus Bakélite). Though, the Ebner (see here) had a different body, and the Gallus might as well have been a copy. (Note that at the same time Gallus took over the production of the Derby 3x4 camera from Foth, another German company.)

What is nearly sure is that Gallus in turn ceded the production to Pontiac, because the two models are exactly identical, except for their markings.

The known variants of the Pontiac were:

  • f/11 Achromat lens (marked Objectif Achromatique) with Pose & Instant shutter
  • 105/4.5 Berthiot, or Anastigmat Pontiac with MFAP shutter B-25-50-100
  • the last one with light brown bakelite body and brown bellows

McKeown lists a 105/6.3 Boyer Topaz with P & I shutter and a 105/4.5 Boyer Topaz with MFAP shutter, but they might have confused with the Gallus model.

A similar body with an Achromat f/11 lens, a P&I shutter and no other marking than Objectif Achromatique is identified as a Gallus by McKeown and Sylvain Halgand. However the Photoptic site presents one with a MFAP plate here, indicating a Pontiac origin. On the same page, Photoptic also presents a Manufrance catalogue listing that body with no name and an achromat f/6.3 or f/4.5 shutter. Photoptic says the catalogue is from 1938, but a recent reedition of the Manufrance catalogues says 1939.

Bibliography Edit

  • Vial, Bernard. Histoire des appareils français. Période 1940–1960. Paris: Maeght Éditeur, 1980, re-impressed in 1991. ISBN 2-86941-156-1.
  • Pontiac Lynx, Super Lynx, Baby Lynx, Fotofiche 15, Patrice-Hervé Pont, Ed Fotosaga

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