Object ID
Object Name
Camera, Box
Date Created
circa 1950
Object Description
Tower Box Camera. A black plastic exterior with a black leather handle on top, crome plate engraved with "Tower, our own trade mark." It has a side view finder, and a knob, diaphragm slide and shutter lever on the other side. The back opens and inside is a red, blue and white label that reads "Use 120 or (B2) Film, Tower Photographic Equipment is sold only by Sears, Roebuck and Co."
The Tower 16 camera was sold by Sears Roebuck and Company, and manufactured by Mamiya Camera Company of Tokyo, Japan. The Tower 16 is identical to the Mamiya-16 Super subminiature camera except for the name. The Tower 16 is less common than the Mamiya version. Though not proof that few were sold, this example has a low serial number - 600068.

The Mamiya-16 Super was manufactured in the early 1950's. Various sources appear to disagree as to the exact date of manufacture, and furthermore they disagree on variations within the Super 16 model line.

A true subminiature camera, the Tower 16 uses special cassettes for up to 20 exposures on 16mm film. The image size is 10 x 14 mm. The lens is a 25mm f3.5 with aperture adjustable to f11. The shutter is synchronized for flash and adjustable from 1/2 to 1/200 second plus bulb. The viewfinder is a simple metal frame that retracts into the body when not in use. The camera focuses as close as 1 foot or .3 meter. There is no rangefinder however, so distance needs to be measured or estimated. The lack of a rangefinder is not a big drawback because the lens has a large depth of field. Only close distances require measurement.
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Camera, Box, circa 1950, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/10563. Accessed 05/21/24.