Marcy's Norton Camera Review:
Click on the camera for a larger view.
The story behind my ownership of this Norton camera is kinda funny. I found a box of junk store cameras while previewing an auction. I dont usually take in auctions, but...you know. Anyway, in the box were a few interesting cameras and a few not so interesting cameras. At the very bottom was the Norton Camera. Id never seen one before! I ended up getting the box of cameras for $25, simply because I wanted that little bastard!
The Norton Camera takes 828 size film. I quickly found that the spool of the 828 film purchased from Film For Classics doesnt fit inside the camera. There was a take up spool inside the camera already, but no extra spools were available. While I stewed over different ways I could make the film fit, I put the camera on the back burner. During that time I saw two or three cameras that matched this one at the annual camera show in Puyallup, Washington. The dealers wanted $35 and up for them. My limit on a single junk store camera is $8.
One day we were out shopping for a claw foot bathtub. Found one at a junk store in Brady, Washington. While poking around the junk store, I found a camera that looked just like the Norton Camera. My excitement mounted. My heart began to beat faster. There was a chunk of Bakelite missing from the front of the camera that made it useless for picture taking. There was no price tag on it. Now, there is a strategy in junk store camera shopping. One doesnt want to look too eager. Also, you dont want to appear as though you actually know what it is youre looking at. I mean, I assume my look-at-this-silly-little-thing mode. It's plastic...you cant even get the film for it anymore...how much could something like this possibly cost anyway? Then too, you have to factor in that Im still in denial that I collect these things. Plus I dont need two of the same camera. Okay, enough. I was thinking that if this camera had an 828 reel inside (and was within my price range), I could load the 828 film I already had onto it and put it in my Norton Camera. The camera had a little tab on the side that read, "press here to open" and, like all good camera fanatics, I pressed. The camera burst into smithereens! In my hands were eighteen pieces of Bakelite where there used to be just one. I immediately glanced sideways at the shop owner. He was involved in a conversation about Noritake china and hadnt noticed a thing. I could cram all the pieces back on the shelf and move on...but I didnt want to dent my karma...and I am a relatively honest person. So, I brought all the pieces up to the counter, intending to insist that I pay for my mistake, but also intending to point out that the camera was broken before I even touched it. I waited for the shop owner to finish his discussion. As I handed him the pieces and said how sorry I was, I saw the reel. It was the very reel I needed. He accepted the pieces. He told me I didnt have to pay for it. "It was a $35 camera until some guy broke the front off it." He threw all the pieces in the garbage. Damn! Now, if I asked him for the reel, hed think Id broken the camera on purpose. Hmmm...I walked around the store. As we were loading the claw foot tub (which no longer mattered to me), I mentioned that I might be able to use the reel from the camera hed thrown away. Bless his little heart, he took the pieces out of the garbage and gave them to me.
The reel worked. But the camera is slightly different from mine. It is a full 1/2" shorter. Its a Univex Model A. It has information written on every millimeter of its body. "Univex Camera Corporation, New York, NY." "Use Univex No. 00 film rolls only" " equipped with special Univex synchromatic speedlens" Stuff like that. Shutter works. Cameras busted.
As far as the Norton goes though; I think I left too much paper on the film reel. It jammed up. I had to open the back after every exposure (inside a changing bag, of course) and wind the film by hand. This meant that I never could tell whether the counter was in the right spot.
Anyway, the camera is 3 1/2" wide and 1 7/8" tall. part of the viewfinder folds down. The shutter releases on the way up and on the way down. It says it was manufactured in Lock Port, NY.
I took this photo of the Univex Camera's shutter for someone and thought that posting might be helpful:
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