There is not much information regarding this camera on the internet. Not that there needs to be. The Beacon Two-Twenty Five produced by Whitehouse Products, Inc., Brooklyn , New York from 1950 to 1958 is the big brother to their previous incarnations the Beacon and Beacon II, both smaller 127 roll film cameras. The Beacon Two-Twenty Five takes 6x6cm negatives using 620 roll film and the black Bakelite body is essentially the same as the smaller Beacon II. There were two models of the Two-Twenty Five, a simple single aperture and shutter speed model and a more ‘advanced’ version with two apertures ‘Dull’ and ‘Bright,’ as well as an Instant and Time shutter options. The shutter speed seems to be around 1/60 while the aperture on the simple version is probably f11, and the two aperture version may be f8 and f11, but that’s just a guess. Both models feature a Doublet 70mm Coated lens. The front of the camera is telescopic and pulls out, away from the camera body. Shutter release is impossible without first pulling the lens housing into position. There are two release buttons on each side of the lens housing for retracting it back into the body of the camera. Framing is done using a simple viewfinder built into the art deco body. There is a sliding lock mechanism for the swing-open back and the standard red window for viewing frame numbers.
The Beacon Two-Twenty Five may essentially be a molded, Bakelite box camera, but it sure looks good. The styling is quite striking with the sweeping top portion and single metal advance knob. I’m a sucker for this kind of retro look, and it’s yet another example of a camera having as much if not more personality than the pictures taken with it. The Doublet lens provides acceptable results for this type of simple camera.
There is a huge flash attachment that can be used with the Two-Twenty Five. It is hard to find and sits on the top of the viewfinder housing. The flash unit screws into the back of the camera for stability and connects to the shutter button for syncing purposes.
CLEANING AND REPAIR
Since this is Bakelite it is very easy to clean. Windex and a damp cloth will do the trick quite nicely. Some leather cleaner may be necessary for the black leatherette that covers the sides and back. If the two thin metal molding strips are dull, just use some metal polish on a soft toothbrush to bring back the shine. That also goes for the metal advance knob on the top and metal face plate. A cotton swab dipped in glass cleaner will clean the viewfinder windows and front lens element just fine. To access the rear lens element, simply backout two small screws on either side of the lens housing. This will allow for the removal of the front portion of the face plate. Be careful, as the thin connection wire for the shutter release button may pop out, and will need to be fed back into the mechanism. Clean the rear lens element with the cotton swab. If haze or fungus is present use a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia to remove it. Then wipe with a soft lens cloth. Reverse the steps to reconnect the front of the lens housing after cleaning the lens.
This camera takes 620 roll film, but the film housing has enough room that if you trim down the edges of a 120 spool it will fit into the camera, or just respool some 120 onto an original 620 spool. Be sure to cover the red window with black masking tape or something similar once the film is loaded and advanced to correct frame. There is no double exposure prevention, so if the shutter button is tripped an exposure will be made.
The smaller Beacon II can be found in fairly good quantities on the ‘bay’, for four to ten dollars, but the Two-Twenty Five is a little harder to find. An occasional auction will usually pop up every week or so. Completed auctions for the Two-Twenty Five have gone from six dollars to forty dollars depending on condition, and model. Most Beacon Two-Twenty Fives and Beacon I or IIs can be found with a carrying case and occasionally with the cumbersome flash attachment. My opinion is that it’s not worth more than ten to twelve dollars, minus shipping so bid accordingly. I believe I picked up this simple Two-Twenty Five model and case for around eight dollars. It’s definitely a fun point and shoot.