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Universal, Mercury II half frame 35mm camera, c1945

The Mercury II was made in USA from cast aluminium magnesium alloy and not finished in any way, they are consequently prone to oxidation - particularly if they have ever been anywhere near the sea. The beginning of this process can be seen on this example, along with blistering under the faux leather covering. The Mercury I and II are very distinctive camera, courtesy of the top housing encasing the rotary shutter blades The shutter speed being altered by changing the gap between the two blades - it is not simply a disc with a hole in it. Speeds of 1000th sec are possible. The camera is half frame 35mm, dictated by the rotary shutter, the camera would otherwise have been too large. It does, however, give a very useful 65 frames out of one roll of 35mm film and the shutter is extremely smooth. Acquired in California, November 2000, in deteriorating but generally sound condition.

As an aside, motion cameras, for which 35mm was originated, used the film in this format. It was the use of the film in still cameras that lead to running the film "sideways" to produce a larger negative.

Universal, Mercury II half frame 35mm camera, c1945

Universal, Mercury II half frame 35mm camera, c1945

Shown after completion of a deep clean, the covering was carefully removed and the blistering cleaned away. Any deeply pitted corrosion completely polished out and the rest of the camera thoroughly cleaned. The old glue was removed from the covering which was then treated and re-applied. There were no mechanical issues to resolve, these are well made and tough little cameras.

 

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