“Missing Self-Timer” and 1960s Selfies!

If you wanted to take a selfie in 1960 your options were limited… 

Self-timers as they were called back then, were available on some cameras in the 1950s and early 1960s as a built-in feature. But most were not including Yashica. The answer… a stand alone device that could be attached to the shutter button via a screw thread, and when set gave the photographer about 5 to 8 seconds to join in on the fun of being photographed. Great for group shots or for showing everyone back home your smiling face in your favorite local. I’ve used them (the built-in kind) for firing the shutter during long exposures whenever my camera was securely attached to a sturdy tripod. The Pentamatic was designed in middle 1959 and basically went into the marketplace by the spring of 1960. It was a cost savings plan by the Yashica bean counters (I’m sure that was the case or it was that they rushed it into production and just plain forgot it) to save a few bucks whenever and wherever they could. So no built-in timer. They also left off a built-in or at least somewhat coupled exposure meter… I’ll leave that for another post. So here are two views of the how it was done back then. Surprisingly Yashica used another manufacturers timer (Waltz) in the Pentamatic instruction booklet! The second image corrects that injustice! It appears that Yashica did not make stand alone self-timers but relied on others to supply them. Maybe one or two other companies produced them all with different logos on each, but it is highly unlikely that this is a Yashica made item.

Yashica's 1959 instruction booklet showing another manufacturers self-timer in use.

Yashica’s 1959 instruction booklet showing another manufacturers self-timer in use.

How the original instruction booklet should have looked. Yashica branded self-timer with the Pentamatic.

How the original instruction booklet should have looked. Yashica branded self-timer with the Pentamatic.

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