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  1. #1
    bliorg's Avatar
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    Ansco Super Speedex and a PA mill town...

    Hi, all -

    I live near a dying mill town, not unlike hundreds in Pennsylvania. Having only shot 400 speed film in the Super Speedex, and wanting to see what it does with a slower film like Acros, I took my son for a walk through Birdsboro this afternoon.

    It's an old town with a lot of history dating back to pre-Revolutionary times. But the steel mill shut down thirty-odd years ago, and there's nothing left to keep it running.

    Lots of street chaff all about:




    And a grain mill at the end of the dead-end main street:


    The former Birdsboro Corporation (google it) is a presence seen from everywhere:




    Plenty of small detail hints at a better time, when people had more pride in the town:





    Lots of buildings are showing their age:


    The newest shop in town:


    Finally, my son posed for a snapshot to commemorate his first stroll through Birdsboro with me:


    The town is a sad story, not a unique one, but is a fascinating place to me nonetheless. I've spent hours strolling the streets with old cameras I've fixed up, and I never seem to get tired of the place. This walk was superlative, due to the companionship and the Super Speedex.

    Thanks for looking.
    Scott

  2. #2
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Outstanding photos. Nothing I like more than taking walks with a member of the family and an old camera. Does your son shoot yet?
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  3. #3
    bliorg's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rick. He's just getting started in film cameras. He's been using an old HP digicam for years, but the camera's recently given up the ghost. Think I'm putting the Rollei in his hands for a while...

  4. #4
    pentaxpete's Avatar
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    Is that the same as an AGFA Isolette camera -- I have the 1956 Isolette III with the Solinar lens -- why not post these photos in the 'Folders' Group ?
    An 'Old Dog still learning New Tricks !

  5. #5
    bliorg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pentaxpete View Post
    Is that the same as an AGFA Isolette camera -- I have the 1956 Isolette III with the Solinar lens -- why not post these photos in the 'Folders' Group ?
    Not quite the same - more of an Isolette on steroids. Coupled rangefinder, automatic film transport and counter, unit cell focusing, and the Solinar is reformulated.

    Where's the folders group?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by pentaxpete View Post
    Is that the same as an AGFA Isolette camera -- I have the 1956 Isolette III with the Solinar lens -- why not post these photos in the 'Folders' Group ?
    Ansco Super Speedex = Agfa Super Isolette

    It's the identical camera, made by Agfa, but labeled and sold by Ansco. "Badge Engineering", as they say.

  7. #7

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    Scott--very nice, indeed. I got an Ansco Super Speedex a few months ago, and just got it back from a CLA. Your photos make me very eager to start using it.

  8. #8
    Neanderman's Avatar
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    Nice photos from a great camera. I have an 'assortment' of Isolette/Speedex models, but nothing 'Super'. My icon image was made with a folder -- can't recall if it was one of these or the Ikonta.
    "I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary's laundry, and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography." -- Lee Friedlander

  9. #9
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    Nice work!

    What's perhaps more mind boggling at Birdsboro, just south/east of town, sharing its driveway with the Schuylkill River Trail, is the defunct Armorcast corporation. There are four tall smokestacks sticking up along one side. I think it was a spin-off from the Birdsboro Steel Foundry, etc., but at any rate, they apparently made Sherman and Patton tanks during WWII and the Korean war. But like so many things, eventually they failed to win a contract in the 1980s and shut down. I did a little Googling on this stuff after bicycling by there a week or two back. Supposedly the Armorcast building has multiple bays 70 feet wide and over 1400 feet long -- could make some hellacious loft condos!

    (I'd show some pix, but I only had my P&S bit electrocuter on my rides by there.)

    Alas, most of the Schuylkill Valley is in various stages of those downward industrial life cycles. I fear sales associate at MalWart doesn't quite replace the sorts of jobs lost out of those plants. Phoenixville seems to be once again rising from the ashes at least a little; Pottstown is trying but has a ways to go.

    DaveT

  10. #10

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    Terrific series, Scott.

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