Being known as a “camera fiddler” has its perils. The other day a friend left me a bag of goodies: A Konica Pop all red and shiny, the ever-present Brownie, a non-functional Yasica Minister and an unknown to me camera a Kodak Retinette model 160. The Retinette stood out of the bunch immediately as it “looked like a camera should”. The model 160 was apparently manufactured in som 41 000 units back in 1939, in Germany before the war. The model 160 that I got was the cheaper version with a ACG four speed “K-4-S”-shutter and a f/4.5 Kodak Anastigmat at 50 mm. Back in the days it would cost you 46 Reichsmark. There also was a more expensive version with a Compur shutter with speeds up to 1/300 and also a faster lens at about 10 Reichsmark more. Read more (in German) here.
Amazingly the shutter worked at all speeds and even the delay crank did its job and with only little hesitation, but never failing, it fired at the end of a 10 second delay. We are talking about an almost 80 year old mechanism here! That is nothing short of fantastic!
The lens was a mess though but was easily cleaned. I had to get all three lenses and thoroughly clean them. Specially the rear lens had a smudgy layer on it that would not go off with washing spirit. Quite an amount of gentle rubbing against a soft tissue was also needed. Strangely enough the forward lens, on the other side of the shutter blade/aperture was not contaminated in the same way?
For once I tried to disassemble as little as possible when working on it. I usually succumb to the “need” to bring a camera down to molecules just to appreciate the mechanics involved. The Retinette however I regarded more as an antique and did not want to take any risks with it. So the lens work had to be performed but apart from that only a little overall cleaning was applied:
From the inside it was also clean and nice:
The top had some kind of rust on the metallic parts it but not more than this:
Overall it is in very good shape! My next step will be to load a cartridge with homespooled Fomapan 100. This will be interesting…