knowledgeable camera collectors, especially those of the Leica 35mm camera
persuasion, know that Leitz had developed and maintained a compendium of
some 2000 codewords for the Leica system from its inception in the 1920s
until this type of catalog reference listing was replaced by a numerical
one in 1960. They were poetic in a sense:
ABLON, ADFIK, ADVOO, AGRIF,
ANZOO, CEYOO, EKURZ, ELANG, ELRIT, FARUX, FIAKU, FIKUS, FILCA, HEKTOR,
HESUM, HOOPY, IROOA, ITOOY, KGOON, MOOLY, NOOKY, PEGOO, OKARO, ORAKO, PLOOT,
RASAL, ROSOL, RIFLE, SAWOO, SBLOO, SCNOO, VALOO, VOOLA, VIDEO, WINKO, ZOOAN,
et. al., and they provided the Leicaphile a secret vocabulary.
It has been reported that in
1934, Charles E. Verschoor, President of the recently formed International
Radio Corporation of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was captivated by the Leica camera
while on a trip abroad. He reasoned that an inexpensive version manufactured
in plastic, while achieving a wide consumer base, (as Universal Camera
Corporation was realizing with its UniveX A camera) would also serve to
keep the IRC molded-plastic radio cabinet department working during that
industry's normal slack periods.
The Argus Model A camera, designed
by Verschoor with the assistance of Gustave Fassin of Rochester, N.Y.,
was announced to the trade in September 1935, "......Inquiries from reputable
dealers solicited. (No bargain or cut-rate houses considered)....", and
brought forth in May 1936. It sold more than 30,000 units the first few
weeks on the market at $12.50! After a time the price dropped to $10.00,
the IRC radio patents were sold to RCA, (including an exclusive best seller
and the industry's first plastic table model AC-DC radio, the IRC Kadette),
the company name changed to International Research Corporation and the
rest as they say, is history.
With the advent of Eastman
Kodak's Daylight-Loading Cartridge in 1934 serving as a catalyst to a simple
design and low cost production, the Argus Model A became for many Americans
of the 1930s, a synonym for "candid camera" and gained them entry into
35mm photography in an affordable way. And Charles Verschoor's captivation
by Leica was apparently profound. Herewith, are the Leitz-like Argus System
Codewords, circa 1939.
f/4.5 50mm triple Anastigmat lens
with built-in extinction type exposure meter.
||Like ABEX, with
close focusing mount.
zipper Case (for Model A Camera only)
||Soft suede zipper
Bag (for Model A Camera only
of the above Six Items in SARCI for Model A or A2.
for Model AF or A2F only (Same as SOMTA with SORCA and SOPLU replaced by
FILRED and SAFE).
||UV Haze Filter
||Carry Case Safety
||Wire Cable Release
with 4" lens, 100 watt bulb, plug-in extension cord and slide carrier.
Bulb 100 watt
||Mode Bl Argus
Projector, with 5" lens, case and slide carrier.
||"B" Argus Projector
Argus Projector (with 3" or 4" lens)
3" or 4"
6" or 7"
size carrying case (with space for extra lens and 300 glass slides)
carrying case with compartments for 75 slides.
Box with index (capacity 100 slides)
framing easel base.
base and f/5.6 lens.
base and f/5.6 lens.
lens, with focusing mount.
flashed opal replacement lamp.
(including 30"x 32" table mdl Projection Screen, SLIPRO, SLIBO and Carrying
and Slide Box only
40") floor mdl
- K. Kekatos
Glass, Brass, &
Chrome: The American 35mm Miniature Camera by Kalton C. Lahue and Joseph
A. Bailey, 1972 University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK.
Argus by Jacob Deschin,
1957 Camera Craft Publishing Co, San Francisco, CA.
The New Photo-Miniature,
New Series:No 4, September 1935
The Camera, Vol
LII, Number Five, May 1936 "
AIM AND SHOOT" Argus
Candid Camera Photography International Research Corporation, Ann Arbor,
Mich Form Code G1, 1939
The Kekfoto Collection
Here" for more information!