Examples I've seen in folding Kodaks, and the Ansco Sure Shot box camera, had simple meniscus lenses, convex side forward. With only one element, where else would you put it?
Originally Posted by Fleath
Some of the Kodak folders had real f/stops, starting (if I recall correctly) at f/16 and getting smaller. In front was a restrictive disk which prevented the camera from being able to operate at wider apertures, although the aperture range was there. I imagine that this was to insure that the user would get sharp pix, because the lens is sharp in the center but has severe aberration if it is used farther out to the edges. I have removed this disk to see what it will do; I got the kind of image that was prized by the blurry pictorialist school around the turn of the 19-20th C's. I've got that camera somewhere still. It's kind of fun.
These had no glass in front.