Monday, February 19, 2007

Tower Camera

From tower camera

Last Father's Day, Marjorie and I went on a little backroads trip and ended up in Mason, MI, and shopped around at the antique mall that is located at the edge of town. It was interesting checking out some of the stores and finding some different items than we had been seeing at the usual antique places we have visited. I found a box of cameras, and every one of them was $10 or less, which is quite find. I spotted one that was unsual, and after seeing the "Tower" name on it, I knew right away that it had once been sold by Sears & Roebuck. I purchased it, and a while later, cleaned it off and shot a roll of Agfa APX with it.

The Tower 50 camera shown here was made by Iloca in Germany in 1956 for Sears. It features a 2.8 Cassar lens (I am assuming a Tessar-style), shutter speeds B- 1/200, and zone focus. It's actually a nice little camera to use. Iloca made a number of cameras for others (as well as under their own name), and Sears sold a variety of cameras with the Tower brand that were made by a variety of companies in Japan and Germany.
Here are a few shots from last June (I finally developed the film on Sunday).
Backside of the UM Art Museum:
From tower camera

The Ants in the Alley

From tower camera


From tower camera


Bharadwaj said...

Hi Mark

I was searching around for info on Tower cameras and found your Blog, very interesting, I have a tower 50 that my granddad gave me and was looking to understand the camera better.

Some dust has gotten inside the view finder and am not able to use it much, was wondering how much the camera is actually worth now. Not that I intend to sell it.

thanks in advance

mfophotos said...

Not much... between 10 and 30 bucks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark
Just a quick question. I have an old Tower camera that used to belong to my grandfater. I found some film inside, that I would like to try and develop on chance there is actually something there. Any ideas where I could get this done? And by chance I live about 20 mins of Ann Arbor.

Thanks in advance,

puffy_133 said...


i just found a very very old camcorder in my grandfathers attic and i was wondering if you know the values for one this old. i've been searching the internet and cant even find a picture of the one i have. it doesnt have a number it only says Tower on it and it has the three lenses that go in a circle and the handle on the side that you turn to make it record. i'm sorry if i'm bothering you i was just trying to find out more about this camcorder but i couldnt find anything online.

thanks for your time,

p.s. you can write me back at

mfophotos said...

Not a camcorder -- those do video. It's an 8mm movie camera - look
under 8mm movie cameras, Sears sold the Tower brand - it probably
dates from the early 1950s. The three turret lens cameras were made by
several manufacturers for Sears - this could be made by Keystone.

this one is probably it:


Unknown said...

Hi Mark!
Like the other folks on here, I'm searching for info on an old Tower camera, and can't find a thing about it. It's a "Hide Away" box camera, with a little hatch that covers the flash bulb which you close when you're not using the flash. I've got a digpic of it, if that will help. If you have any info or can point me in the right direction, I'll be eternally grateful!
Wendy from WI