The Camera Site

Bakelite Cameras: Bilora Boy, Kodak Baby Brownie, Boyer, Pouva Start, Pionyr

Bilora Boy

Bilora Boy

Bilora Boy was produced by Bilora ( Kürbi & Niggeloh) in 1950 - 1952 . A beautiful dark brown bakelite camera which were made in different versions and colors.

BoyThe material allows to cast very complicated parts, that's why the whole camera consists quite a few components. Roughly taken only three or four plus some minor trimmings.
Bilora Boy uses 127 film and you get 4x6,5 negatives. The lens is Meniscus 11 and the shutter speeds are T, and ~1/30. Viewfinder is Gallilean Type. Like so many German Company, Bilora has also a long history. Today Bilora is still on a row. Not as a camera manufacturer but a producer of many other articles in the photo industry

Kodak Baby Brownie

Kodak Baby Brownie

Little bakelite box camera with folding frame viewfinder. A bit more basic than Bilora Boy. This Baby has only one shutter speed but the styling is perhaps more attractive, kind of art -deko. It was manufactured in 1934 - 1941 which means that Baby Brownie is significantly older than other bakelite cameras on this page. It uses 127 film and negative format is 4x6,5cm.

Boyer Photax III "Blindé"
M.I.O.M. - PHOTAX, Manufacture d' I solant et d' Objets Moe,Vitry sur Seine , France

Photax III is commonly referred as the Photax Blindé (armored Photax), after its unique protective cap which unfortunately is missing. The cap should fit over the front of the lens mount and up over the shutter release to prevent accidental tripping of the shutter. As all cameras on this page it is made of Bakelite

  • Produced 1938-1946 M.I.O.M., Vitry-sur-Seine, France
  • Film type 620 rollfilm
  • Picture size 6x9
  • Weight 369g
  • Lens Boyer Paris Série VIII
  • Shutter speeds 1/100, 1/25, T
  • Viewfinder Gallilean

Pouva Start

Karl Pouva KG Freital. Pouva Start was manufactured in1951-1955. It uses 120 film and you get 12, 6x6 negatives on it. Pouva has a flash synchronization, and two aperture settings. A good companion to other bakelite boxes on the page.

  • Produced ~1951 Karl Pouva KG Freital, Germany
  • Film type 120 rollfilm
  • Picture size 6x6
  • Weight 250g
  • Lens Duplar 8/80mm.
  • Size 132 x 87 x 51mm
  • Shutter speeds B, 1/30
  • Viewfinder Gallilean

Pionyr Made in Czechoslovakia

Production of this camera begun in 1948. There are two types of Pionyr, an early type I and late type II. Both are made of Bakelite with two shutter speeds and two aperture settings. Type II has an improved helicoidal focusing system and synchronic terminal for flash. This one has both, actually the other shutter speed is "T" and a focusing system is hungry for an improvement so I expect that this one is Pionyr type I.

Genos Rapid


Genos Rapid (1950)

A German bakelite camera . It takes 6 x 6 cm negatives on 120 roll film. Manufacturer Genos KG (Oswald KG) Nürnberg. Meniskus lens, two aperture settings and a built in yellow filter.



Russian Lens Cases

I have a small collection of Industar and Jupiter lens cases. They are also made from bakelite. I bought these cases with lenses from a flea market in Estonia. The cost was incident, twenty Crowns apeace (1,26 €)

As a custom in a former Soviet Union was that the cost of the merchandise was stamped somewhere on the article. On the bottom of these boxes you can see what was the price of the lens.

What is "Bakelite"?

"Bakelite," a revolutionary, non-flammable, early plastic. "The material of a thousand uses," as it was called, made a splash in the 1920s, '30s and '40s. Invented around the turn of the century by the Belgian born scientist Dr. Leo Baekeland (1863-1944). Bakelite, the brand name of a resin called polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride , is produced by combining carbolic acid and formaldehyde. Phenolic resin could be produced in a multitude of colors and it could be molded or cast.

©2007 Reijo Lauro