Serial / plate discrepancy

May be temporary, but a forum for information on Graflex and Graphic serial numbers and dates.
Date your Graphic and be happy ;-)

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Serial / plate discrepancy

Post by celluloid » Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:46 am

Of course, my first post here would be a "SERIAL NUMBER HELP!!!" post but I'm in a bit of a pickle with my new camera.
I recently bought a 4x5 with a case named to a military sgt. There is no Signal Corps nomenclature on any items and the camera appears to have gone through many modifications. Most of the gear in the box is mid-50s to late 60s vintage, including several filmpacks due to expire in 1973 and the Wollensak lens with a "G" serial number.
The camera, however, is an Anniversary. It has the Graphic back, no shutter release on the body, a wooden "C" lensboard and a flat wire. The lack of any bright trim, especially in comparison to my 3x4, led me to put this in the "wartime" category. All of the metal, save for the rails, are blacked out brass. (the camera)

A member of a camera group I'm with almost immediately ID'd it as "last half of 45 or 46". When asked for the reasons why, he pointed to the SPEED GRAPHIC on the lensboard lock being italic and the chrome rails. He also said the lens gave it away as post-war, but the lens is not original. On the back of the lensboard, you can clearly see marks from where the previous lens sat and there are also screw holes from a different rangefinder (I'm just hoping this IS the rangefinder that goes with this lens).

Long story short, the camera is serial number 359183. Camera 359242 is listed as "anniversary, black, PH-47-E -- 1945" (PH-47 being the Speed Graphic issued to the Signal Corps... In case anyone not in the know is reading up on this).
The plate on the side, however, reads "Graflex, Inc. Rochester 8 New York, U.S.A". That would have put it as 1946 or after.

Were cameras shipped out in order? Could the body have been made in late 45 but not given its accouterments until after the corporate name change in 46? I've noticed the "Not The Book..." skips around a bit with
349200 – black anniversary -- 1945
350679 – anniversary – 1945
351201 – anniversary -- 1945
354145 – miniature speed – 1945 1st batch after WW
354765 – miniature speed - 1946
358103 - anniversary -- 9-1945
358807 – anniversary – 1945
359242 – anniversary, black, PH-47-E -- 1945
360070 – anniversary – 1946
Going from "1st batch after WW" to 1946 then back to 1945. If 354145 was the first batch after WW2, it would have had to be shipped out the last 3 months of '45 (maybe someone was on Santa's nice list?). Were mini's numbered differently? Am I just bringing up old mysteries?

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Re: Serial / plate discrepancy

Post by RichSBV » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:35 am

There's a forum on especially for military cameras and someone there might know much more.

The only info I can offer is from the 'official' book that states:

9/11/45 4x5 Speed Graphic in a lot of 2500 starting at serial 357813 through 360312.

When that camera was actually made is anyone's guess. Although the next batch of 4x5 Speed's was only 17 days later...

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