The Camera Shutter

FURTHER ON IN THIS site I have described the box camera scenario in India, the various models which appeared on the market, and some of my experiences while hunting around for a camera. Perhaps I have not recounted how while I was on my camera hunt, I was also lucky enough to receive a gorgeous gift from an old aunt who stayed in Bombay. It was an old Agfa Isoly - I camera marketed by Agfa Gevaert India Limited and assembled in their camera factory at Baroda. My aunt had shot but a roll or two of film on it, and the camera was as good as new. But mechanical wizard that I was, I decided to open up the box, tinker around with the screws, alter the internal arrangements, all in the hope of ‘improving’ the device. And a week later, I was left with a box which was truly no better than a box.

Before I consigned the instrument to the dustbin, I was wise enough to salvage the lens, and the shutter. And for thirty long years, the shutter has remained with me, carefully put away in an envelope and stored in a trunk. It is still in working condition and is operated by turning a shaft at the back by inserting a pin or key sideways through a slot cut in the metal. Speeds offered are B, 1/30 and 1/100 second. I think this is an example of what is known as a 'Singlo' shutter.

Was it a wise thing for me to tinker around with the camera in the first place? Yes and no. The camera was destroyed in the process it is true, but what use would it have been to me anyway, now that roll film is no longer available in our country? So I would say that it was good I decided to try out my brains on the innards of this old box from the house of Afga. The camera was lost, but in return I have with me the shutter and can see for myself the mechanical genius of those magnificent men of old who devised this wonderful array of springs and levers for a camera.