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Sears is the most famous mail order house in the world since its Chicago building Sears Tower was the highest in the world for a certain period. In the U.S.A. it was the greatest mail-order and retail vendor of consumer goods. It was founded by Richard W. Sears in 1886, starting as a reseller of watches in North Redwood, Minnesota. In 1887 Sears moved to Chicago and employed Alvah C. Roebuck as watch- and toolmaker. In 1893 Roebuck became partner in the company which then was renamed Sears, Roebuck & Co.. Like other great mail-order houses Sears had a house-brand for cameras, the Tower cameras which were all OEM products, made by different renowned camera makers of several countries. Some cameras were sold branded Sears, and a few under their original manufacturers.

Several Tower cameras were also made by Bilora. Sears lenses for SLRs were made by Ricoh. Conley was a partner of Sears & Roebuck. In 1924 Conley was owned by Sears, and bought Seneca. But the Seneca brand disappeared in 1926. In 1980 Sears, Roebuck and Co. was restructured and rebranded to Sears Merchandise Group.

Distributed cameras Edit

Sears name Comment Original camera/manufacturer
Ansco Marvel S-20 brownie type box Made for and sold by Sears as an Ansco Ansco
Sears 3A Kodak V122 film Conley Kewpie No. 3A box camera 3.25x5.25
Sears Easi-Load FC 600 126 cartridges Ricoh 126 C Automatic
Sears KS-1 Ricoh XR-6
Sears Model 600 Easi load FC flash cube Instamatic  ???
Sears Tower Reflex 65 Perhaps Tower Reflex 65 with meter - TLR also Tower 64, no meter Walz
Sears Model 65 35mm viewfinder Halina Paulette   F.C Halinar 45mm f2.8
Sears Model 65 RF Halinar 45mm f2.8 lens Halina
Sears Auto RF 35 Ricoh?
Sears RF 5 Ricoh
Sears RF 7 Ricoh
Seroco Junior Conley Model VII
Tower 5 127 film Bilora Bella
Tower 7 120 film Brownie type box - Germany (Bilora)
Tower 8 box camera Mfr? Germany
Tower 10A Mamiya RF 48mm f:2.8 coated
Tower 10B Mamiya 4B RF
Tower 14 pseudo-TLR box Bilora Bonita 66
Tower 16 16mm submini spy cam Mamiya-16
Tower 18 Olympus 35-S 4.2cm f1.8 external timer lever.
Tower 18A Mamiya Ruby f/1.9
Tower 18B Mamiya Ruby Standard
Tower 19 Olympus Ace E
Tower 20 Olympus Wide (no meter, not "E") f:2
Tower 20B Mamiya RF 48mm f/1.7
Tower 22 SLR Asahiflex IIA
Tower 23 SLR Asahiflex IA and Asahiflex IIB
Tower 24 SLR Asahiflex IIB
Tower 25 TLR Airesflex (Nikkor lens)
Tower 26 SLR SLR Asahi Pentax (original) and Pentax S
Tower 29 SLR Asahi Pentax K
Tower Reflex I or Tower 120 Flash pseudo TLR Ising Pucky I
Tower Reflex II pseudo TLR Photina from Photavit-Werk GmbH, Nurnberg, Germany
Tower Reflex III pseudo TLR Photina II from Photavit-Werk GmbH, Nurnberg, Germany
Tower Reflex 30 TLR Photina Reflex IIIb from Photavit-Werk GmbH, Nurnberg, Germany
Sears 32B SLR Rebadged Mamiya Prismat NP; Exakta-mount interchangeable lenses, c.1961 aka Tower 32B
Tower 33 Reflex SLR Braun Paxette Reflex
Tower 34 box camera (?) Ansco
Tower 34 Reflex Braun
Tower 35 Nicca III-S
Tower 37 Mamiya SLR
Tower 37A Mamiya
Tower 39 very odd rectangular box with large bulb flash, also automatic; see also Sears 41, similar - (c.1961) Mamiya Automatic 35 EEF
Tower 41 Mamiya, 1962
Tower 42 Nicca, 1954
Tower 43 Nicca, 1954
Tower 44 Toyoca-44
Tower 44B Super Matic TLR Halma 44
Tower 45 Nicca 5L f/2
Tower 46 Nicca f/1.4
Tower 50 Iloca Rapid, Vero Shutter, Cassar lens
Tower 51 (120 folding) some Sources indicate USC Rollex ca. 1950 Conley Camera Company 1955
Tower 51 (not folding 120, but 35mm) LH film advance. Also RH film advance model, also knob advance version all called Tower 51 Iloca Rapid B Steinheil Cassar lens 50mm f/2.8 made in Germany by Kamerawerke Wilhelm Witt, Hamburg, Germany. Compur - Rapid Shutter.
Tower 52 35mm Iloca Rapid IIL as Tower 51 with light meter. copur-rapid shutter f:2.8 lens
Tower 53 Iloca, 1955 as Tower 52 with synchro compur shutter. f:2 lens
Tower 53B Iloca, 1955
Tower 54 Olympus WideE 3.5cm lens f:3.5
Tower 55 35mm PAX M4(?)

Tower 55B

Tower 56 || || Pax Jr (Yamato); Color Luna Lens 45mm f3.5

Olympus 35S1 3.5 (no S on body)

Tower 57 35mm Samoca 35 M-28 (AKA Hanimex A35)
Tower 57A 35mm Samoca LE
Tower 60 120 Franka Solida (IIIR,E?)  80mm f2.9 Schneider-Kreuznach Radonar lens. Prontor-SVS shutter B, 1-300 
Tower Flash 120 120 Bilora box
Tower 127 Mamiya ??
Tower 32B (c.1963) Mamiya Prismat NP Mamiya-Sekor lens, Exakta/Topcon mnt?
Tower 4×5 Pressman Busch 4x5 Pressman
Tower Automatic 35 Mamiya ???
Tower Camflash 127 see also: Tower,Sears 39 Mamiya
Tower Colorette Rangefinder Braun Super Colorette
Tower Companion 1960 Imperial, similar to Debonair
Tower Hide Away same as Imperial Mark 27
Tower Reflex 1 box camera 120 Probably Bilora
Tower Skipper 127 brownie box size, made in USA (mfr?)
Tower Snappy Imperial Savoy
Tower Stereo Iloca ??
Tower Synchroflash Bilora Bella
Tower Type 3 Nicca III
Tower Type 3S Nicca, Leotax?
Trumpfreflex Reflecta (Richter Reflecta)

LinksEdit


Companies of Chicago (Illinois)
Adams & Westlake | American Advertising and Research Co. | Bernard | Burke & James | Busch | Calumet | Candid | Chicago Camera Co. | Chicago Ferrotype Co. | Deardorff | De Vry | Geiss | Herold | Imperial | Kemper | Metropolitan Industries | Montgomery Ward | Pho-Tak | Rolls | Sans & Streiffe | Sears | Seymour | Spartus | The Camera Man | United States Camera Co. | Western Camera Manufacturing Co. | Yale | Zar | Zenith

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