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Sico -- 1922 Wooden Swiss Pre-Leica 35mm  

The 1922 Sico went on sale 3 years before the first production Leica, and probably wins the title of "prettiest pre-Leica 35mm camera."  It is also the only one with a wood body.  The Sico uses un-perforated 35mm film for 25 30x40mm exposures (but perforated film was usable too) on paper-backed roll film.  The listed manufacturer is Wolfgang-Simon & Co. of Bern, Switzerland -- but maybe not, read on about the interior marking of this camera.   The lens is the legendary, eh  not so legendary,  collapsible "Sico f:3.5/60 Rudersdorf Anastigmat" mounted in a German made   Dial Set Compur shutter, with a shutter speed range of 1-300, with f/stops to f/22.   The Sico was also available with a Dagor f/6.8 Double Anastigmat lens.  The slower lens suggests it was marketed as a lower priced companion model.

Ah yes, the joys of folding wire finders and exposure table shooting guides. 

The lens in extended, taking position. 

The funny looking lever thing is the film advance, sliding it out and in again advances the film.  

A sun dial?  No, that's a film counter.

The beautiful Sico is very rare today. It's wooden body pretty much negated the cost of metal tooling.  It was an idea that was later repeated in the American made 1927 Ansco Memo half frame camera.  Actually, the Ansco Memo  does look so similar, it may have been inspired by the Sico.   hmm.   Both the Sico and Memo have wood bodies, leaf shutters, odd ball film sizes, metal fittings.....hmmmm. 




The exposure guide of this camera is in French. A French export?




This camera is number 267.  Oddly the inside tag proclaims "Made in Germany." even though it is officially a Swiss made camera.   I don't understand the story behind that.  


The original leather case is probably rarer than the camera itself.   There are two Sico models. This is the more numerous, and the prettiest.  Another model is larger, with a leather covered body.  It is even rarer.  Production unknown, but probably two to three hundred, or less.  Personally, I have never seen any Sico camera in the flesh in the US.

  These pictures are courtesy and copyright of my friend Luigi Crescenzi, all rights reserved

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Revised: November 26, 2003 Copyright  2002  Stephen Gandy. All rights reserved.    This means you may NOT copy and re-use the text or the pictures in ANY other internet or printed publication of ANY kind.  Information in this document is subject to change without notice.  Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.