Check out those unusual cameras at the Bonhams auction in Hong Kong

There were some interesting cameras on the last Bonhams auction in Hong Kong:

The Doryu pistol cameras were apparently developed for police and surveillance tasks. The first model, the Doryu 1 took 9.5mm film and was ready in 1952. The absence of film stock caused a re-think and a successor, the Doryu 2-16, taking 16mm film was completed in July 1954. By this time police forces had had selected the Mamiya Pistol, made to the same specifications and supplied just in time by May 1954. The Doryu was made available to the civilian market. The Doryu-16 pistol camera was first noted in Japanese camera magazines as early as July 1954 and the camera was advertised in Sankei Camera from July 1955 later advertisements show it available with three Dorymar lenses. Around 600 units are believed to have been produced.

Mamiya pistol camera - the delayed development of the Doryu-16 camera resulted in the Japanese police ordering a camera to the same specification from Mamiya. The resulted Mamiya camera, properly called the Fast Action Camera, while less elegant was adopted and around 250 examples were delivered to the Osaka police headquarters training purposes. Most were, reportedly, later officially destroyed.

Lucky strike spy camera by Mast Development Corp, USA, 16mm metal-body, with matt-black body and chrome top plate, four-speed shutter B, 00, 25, 5, four-position aperture and film advance, contained within a paper Lucky Strike cigarette packet, a metal body light meter disguised as an Ohio Safety match box. The Lucky Strike was developed for the U.S. Signal Corps c. 1949-1950. The selenium light meter was built by Quavas Corporation. This camera is one of only two know to have been made, the other exampled is in the Signal Corps Museum, Ft. Monmouth, U.S.A. The initial contract for a concealable camera to fulfil military requirements for a 16mm precision still camera for application in situations where the use of such cameras was desirable was given to the DeMornay-Budd Co. which developed a model in 1946-49. This did not meet the specification and another contract was given to the Mast Development Co. Inc. who developed two models during 1949-50. Neither was ever adopted by the U.S army. Hindle when writing his article in 1974 was only able to account for one of each model. White, interviewing Edward Kaprelian, the original engineer who headed the project, was told by Kaprelian that two were made. The camera fitted into the actual outer wrapper from a Lucky Strike cigarette packet. It was made to a very high standard with a five-element f/2.7 17.5mm Sonnar-type lens. A focal plane shutter was mounted in front of the lens and provided shutter speeds from B,5,=50,00. Eighteen exposures on 16mm film could be made.

The Steineck ABC camera was introduced c.1948. Designed by Dr. Rudolph Steineck, it made eight exposures a disc of film 25mm in diameter which could be stamped from standard 35mm film. It continued to be listed until 1951. Steineck was later associated with the Tessina camera.

Lancaster's patent pocket camera was the subject of British patent no. 12,571 of 4 October 1886. The camera first appeared in a commercial form in 1886 and from 1887 two sizes were sold. These corresponded to mens and ladies watches giving negatives of 2 ins x 1 1/2 ins and 1 1/2 ins x 1 ins respectively. The early models had simple rotary shutters which were turned by hand, these were replaced in 1890 by an Improved-pattern camera with a simple drop shutter. The Lancaster watch camera had disappeared from the British Journal Photographic almanac by 1896, although it is likely that any manufacture had creased well before this.

The Vest camera was patented by Robert D Gray on 27 July 1886 for a camera 'to be concealed on the person'. The camera was designed to be worn against the chest with the lens poking through a button hole. In 1886 the rights to the camera were purchased by C P Stirn who made it a commercial success with over 18,000 examples sold under a variety of names.

GF81 ring camera by Gian Paulo Ferro, Italy - reputed to have been made in an edition not exceeding ten.

The Ticka camera was patented in 1904 and introduced to the market in 1906. The Watch Face Ticka which used a real enamelled watch dial was introduced in 1908 with the angle of the hands indicating the lens's angle of view.

Dr Rudolph Krügener's book camera was patented in Germany in 1888 and made by Haake and Albers. It was patented across many countries and sold under a variety of names. Despite the popularity of the camera relatively few examples survive.

Additional information can be found on

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