The Utility Manufacturing Co. of New York (1934-1941) manufactured a variety of cameras including folding cameras, box cameras, and its main camera line of Falcon cameras, a name associated with half-frame, sixteen exposure 3x4cm cameras utilizing 127 film. The Falcon F, c.1938, is a good quality camera, with a Bakelite body and heavy cast metal helical lens mount with a high quality lens and shutter. Original price was $17.50.
The heavy cast metal helical lens mount made the camera front-heavy, so a retractable foot located below the lens mount was incorporated for stability when the camera was set down. The lens is a Wollensak Velostigmat 2-inch f/4.5 with stops to f/22. The shutter is a Deltax with speeds of 1/25-1/100 second plus B & T.
An interesting feature of the Model F is that the focus locks at every distance mark on the focusing ring. To change the distance, it was necessary to hold down the chrome button on the side of the lens mount. Focusing distance is from 4 – 25 feet plus infinity. Other features include an eye-level optical viewfinder and cold shoe.
Similar to other sixteen exposure 127 cameras, the Falcon F uses an A, B red window system which works as follows: after the film is loaded into the camera, the slide-on back is lowered and secured and the windows “A” & “B” appear. Turn the film wind knob until the No.1 appears behind window “A”. After a photo is taken, wind the film until the No. 1 appears behind window “B”. After another photo is taken, wind the film until the No.2 appears behind window “A”. Continue shooting and winding until the No.8 appears behind window “B”, indicating 16 exposures have been taken.
The Utility Manufacturing Co. was bought in 1941 by Spartus Corp. and moved to Chicago, IL. In 1951, it was purchased by its head of sales, Herold Rubin, who changed the company name to Herold Mfg. Co., but continued to use the Spartus name on their cameras. Herold Mfg. Co. created several inexpensive models into the 1960’s, when they ultimately closed their doors and ceased operation.
Story and photos by PHSNE member Richard Berbiar