The Ansco Photoproducts Company was purchased by Agfa in 1928 and became the Agfa-Ansco Corp. Then during 1940, the name changed to Ansco Inc., which produced film and cameras. At one time the company was also GAF. Utilizing 120 roll film the Ansco Shur-Flash was produced from 1932 to 1960 and was the flash version of the Ansco Shur-Shot. The Shur-Flash is your standard cardboard box camera covered in black leatherette. It sports a black plastic handle on the top along with the two flash contacts for the external flash attachment, and a raised viewfinder window on one side just beneath the metal film advance knob. The front of the Shur-Flash is a wonderful art-deco stainless-steel, textured faceplate. The single meniscus lens is placed in front of the shutter and surrounded by a black plastic ring and the words “Ansco Shur-Flash. Made by Ansco, Binghamton , NY .” Instead of the standard flat shutter release lever found on most box cameras of this type, the Shur-Flash features a round, metal push-button shutter release for the single speed rotary shutter. I would guess the shutter speed is around 1/30 or 1/50. There is no Bulb or Time option, and only a single aperture size that I would assume is around f11. The large 6x9cm negative produced by this camera was intended for contact prints which were common during this era.

Ansco Shur-Flash Back

As with most of these cameras it is opened by unlatching the small metal faster on the back, which allows the entire back plate to swing down on a metal hinge. The metal film carrier is then pulled out, remember to pull out the film advance knob first, and load the film onto the carrier. Slide the carrier back into the camera, secure the back plate and advance the to the first film frame using the common red window on the back to view the frame number. Cover the red window with a piece of black masking tap or something similar to prevent light leaks and ghosting. There is no double exposure prevention, so every time the shutter button is depressed the shutter opens.

The black leatherette is easy to clean. I use leather cleaner if the surface is just dirty with age, but have utilized black shoe polish if the leatherette needs a little added pizzazz after years of neglect. The face plate can be popped off with a little screwdriver to allow for better access to the simple rotary shutter and backside of the single lens element which is built into the front plate itself. To clean the single element lens use cotton swabs dipped in Windex or any glass cleaner. If fungus or haze is present I suggest a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. There is not much else to this camera. Since the viewfinder is a long opening along one side of the camera, only the outside of the very small windows can be cleaned with a cotton swap dipped in glass cleaner. Glass cleaner will bring a shine back to the stainless-steel face plate as well, or if it is really dirty try metal polish on a soft toothbrush.

These cameras are fairly common on the ‘bay,’ along with the Shur-Shot version and can be picked up for about five to ten dollars depending on condition. They are light and shipping shouldn’t be more than six to seven dollars. Most of these cameras have the film size written somewhere on the camera. If an auction description does not specify that it is a 120 roll film version just ask the seller to look for this designation. Usually there is a sticker inside the camera that suggests what type of Ansco or Agfa film to use. Remember B-9 is the Agfa designation for 120 roll film. Garage sales, thrift stores and swap meets are additional sources for these types of box cameras.

Roll Film Cameras
Ansco Shur-Shot 
Ansco Shur-Flash
Dean’s Shur-Flash
Loading Shur-Flash – YouTube

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