A8 Agfa Ansco Cadet Special Box Camera

One of the reasons I like antique shops is the opportunity for interesting and sometimes amusing photos. But there is a serious intent to these visits . . . Melisa looks for things she is interested in, and I look for things I am interested in. The first time I bought anything, I got burned . . . I’ve now learned to check online for a rough idea as to the worth of what interest me. 

Agfa Ansco Cadet Special
Agfa Ansco Cadet Special

The above is a pre-WW-II box camera manufactured in Binghamton, NY.  Some might notice the similarity to Kodak’s Little Browne box camera. 

I did not find a lot of information regarding this camera. A few obscure places reference the Cadet Special as being manufactured after the merger in 1928 of the Ansco company and the US division of the German company Agfa. For about 15 years, cameras originating from both Agfa in Germany and Ansco in the US were branded with the dual name Agfa Ansco.

Agfa Ansco Cadet Special
Agfa Ansco Cadet Special

I found photos of this little camera (length = 4 in, width = 2.75, height = 3.5 in) but not a specific write-up. I did find a few posts for a later model, the Agfa B-2 Cadet, HERE and HERE, and even a photo taken with the B-2 HERE. All of the photos in this post are my own camera, taken by me.

Agfa Ansco Cadet Special
Agfa Ansco Cadet Special

As far as I can tell, everything on this little camera works, so presuming I would buy the appropriate film, I should be able to use the camera to take film photographs. 

The operation is pretty simple; the lens is fixed, not much more than a pinhole camera. The shutter is visible in the above photo right below the landscape viewfinder, and it consists of a lever that, when pressed, will trigger the shutter at either 1/30th or 1/60th of a second, depending where you read. Later cameras had the equivalent of manual shutter (open it for as long as you want), but this camera does not.

Agfa Ansco Cadet Special
Agfa Ansco Cadet Special

The film is loaded by opening the back, and pulling out the film carrier, which consists of the entire guts of the box camera. You lift the clip at the top rear of the camera, and the back panel swings open. You then pull on the manual film winder knob to unlock the film carrier, and slide the carrier out. In that regard, it’s similar to the operation of the Little Brownie.

The little glass windows visible on the top and side of the camera are the viewfinders. One would hold the camera against the body, and look down to frame the photo. Orient the camera one way for portrait orientation, and turn the camera 90 degrees for landscape shots. Because you had to manually trigger the shutter, and because the travel of the lever is fairly long, I imagine it would behoove the intrepid photographer to wedge the camera securely against the body to minimize movement when triggering the shutter. 

These are the views through both viewfinders . . . 

Agfa Ansco Cadet Special Top Viewfinder (portrait)
Agfa Ansco Cadet Special
Top Viewfinder (portrait)
Agfa Ansco Cadet Special Side Viewfinder (landscape)
Agfa Ansco Cadet Special
Side Viewfinder (landscape)

There are no neck straps or cases that I’ve seen either in the literature or in any of the stores. You would have to carry this camera holding it in your hand. There is a leather strap atop the camera, but I can’t get my finger under it, so I’m not sure of its purpose other than decorative. I think this camera ran me something like $25. Depending where you look online, and how patient you are, you might find it for a little less. Based on the shape it’s in, I thought the cost for this one was reasonable.

I own two other Agfa Ansco cameras of later vintages, and I’ll cover those in separate posts. Meanwhile, all I have to say is . . . we’ve come a long way.

There is a section at SmugMug that will have individual galleries for each camera I showcase. The gallery for this camera is HERE 

Side note . . . the fabric I used for the backdrop has been hanging for nearly 6 months, and while I was hoping they would lessen, the wrinkles are still not out. I was too lazy to do anything about it, so you get to enjoy the creases. I’ll try and do better for the next shoot.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Find Your Own Way
Find Your Own Way

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