Brumberger 1651 Camera
Camera distributors do not attain much respect in history pages, be it in printed matter or online. If at all, they enjoy a brief mention on the fly. In a way, they deserve more appreciation for bringing photography to the masses, so much so in the transitional 1950s. Flourished in the post-war years, such distributors existed in Europe, the US and OZ. Most distributors sold other makers’ products rebranded/remarked under own name, so they are taken as bone fide brands, such as the GAF and Kalimar in the US, Ilford and Photopia in the UK, Foto Quelle and Ringfoto in Germany, Photo Hall and Tiranty in France, and Hanimex in Oz and the world over. There are many more; I guess that any decent market has its own distributor. Supplies were sourced from the up-and-coming Japanese makers or the Soviet and East German manufacturers who sold as much as they could produce to generate hard currency for their cash-starved economies. Most camera makers that fed this market did not survive. A few Japanese giants are still with us, and East Block makers, if still around, have long abandoned the camera business.
Brumberger of Brooklyn, New York, was one of such distributors. Established after the war, I would assume he was a German refugee, most likely a member of the tribe, having fled to the US when the gates were still open.
Brumberger sold a few cameras, mostly photography equipment, and only a few camera models, some of which occasionally surface on eBay. Surviving mail-order catalogues also show a line of toys and model railway accessories. There is little online or printed information about the person or the company. He also had an odd sense of humour.
The camera list offered by Brumberger is rather short. There are three cine, two box-like, and four 35mm rangefinder models. Two of the four are Royal Camera rebrands, one a Neoca, and one I am yet to identify.
The camera here is a Royal Camera Luxall, also sold as Hanimex Holiday II, Torca, and as a version of Royal 35. The Neoca model that looks very similar, if not identical, could be a model shared by both makers. Note that all cameras made by Royal look unmistakably alike, hinting at the Nikon S style. See Agripix for more.
The camera is marked as Brumberger 1651, where on the body, there are only two markings: a prominent, cursive Brumberger name, and DSK marked at the bottom of the back. DSK stands for Daiou Shashin Kogaku, the official name of Royal Camera Company. The only mention of the 1651 is on a faint rubber stamp mark on the box, “MODEL #1651”
The camera is well-made, solid and superbly finished. For a 1951 model, it shows no signs of aging or blemishes. The unnamed shutter fires, the aperture is smooth, and the lens is clean. The viewfinder is large and bright. I have not tried the self-timer as the governor there is doomed to fail on 70-year-old cameras.
It is straightforward to use; no manual is needed. The speed and aperture dials are on the lens mount, making them easy to access and read. In the unit I have they are loose and too mushy to my taste, yet they function properly. It is fully manual, with no batteries required.
Hanimex Holiday II
|Royal camera Torca & Luxall, Hanimex Holiday II, Royal 35.
|640 gr, Body with lens
|Class average weight
|660 gr, Body with lens
|25-400, memo only
|Service / repair links
|Colin J Clark