Introduced in 1937, this camera is a Purma Special and is made almost entirely of Bakelite, apart from the glass lens, plastic viewfinder optics and shutter & spring mechanisms.
The camera is a 127 roll film viewfinder cameras with an innovative gravity controlled shutters, based on the company's patents of 1935 and 1936. Purma cameras and accessories were originally sold by R. F. Hunter of London.
The lens is a fixed aperture f 6.3, 2 1/4 inch focal length, Beck Anastigmat. Red windows are used to count exposures.
What is special, and wacky about the Purma Special design, is its focal-plane shutter mechanism. The Purma Special offers three shutter speeds, 1/25, 1/150 and 1/450 known as slow, medium and fast.
The camera has no shutter speed selector. Medium speed occurs when the camera is held horizontally. Fast speed is achieved by holding the camera vertically, with the wind knob up. To shoot at the slow speed, hold the camera vertically, and with the wind knob down. Simple. Based on gravity.
As a reminder to which way to hold the camera, the words Fast and Slow are molded into the Bakelite surrounding the viewfinder eyepiece.
The overall condition of the camera’s body is good (see photos) with the only damage to the Bakelite on the back door, which has had two high-quality repairs to two cracks that occurred in the 1950's. The camera comes with its original screw-on lens cap and ever-ready camera case with shoulder strap. The camera is taken from my Bakelite/art deco collection and so, hasn’t been used with 127 roll film for many years.
A lovely 1930s British made Bakelite collector’s piece.