Candex Miniature Bakelite Camera by General Products Co., c. 1940

General Products Co. / Utility MFG Co. / Spartus Corp., 711-15 W. Lake St., Chicago, IL

Here is yet another of the many bakelite minicams produced out of the same Lake Street factory in the 1940s. These cheap-o “candid” cameras were marketed under literally dozens of different brand names AND manufacturer names, with no rhyme or reason as to which name would appear on which model type. The motivations behind this strategy are quite interesting,

Champion Miniature Bakelite Camera by The Camera Man, c. 1946

The Camera Man / Lee Industries / Spartus Corp., 711-15 W. Lake St., Chicago, IL

The Made-In-Chicago Museum has collected, so far, 17 bakelite minicams, all produced by the same Chicago manufacturer in the 1940s, but sold under roughly forty-two gazillion different brand AND manufacturer names. You can read the entire, quite fascinating story of Jack Galter and his budget goods empire on our main Spartus Camera Corp.

Churchill Miniature Bakelite Camera by Monarch MFG Co., 1940s

Monarch MFG Co. / Utility MFG Co. / Spartus Corp., 711-15 W. Lake St., Chicago, IL

The Churchill mini-cam is merely one of dozens of brand names slapped on the lens plates of this and other similar 1940s bakelite molds. Known as the “Chicago Cluster,” the cameras patented and mass-produced by Jack Galter at his 711 W. Lake Street factory were famously marketed under numerous brand AND manufacturer names.

Clix Miniature Bakelite Camera by General Products Co., c. 1940s

General Products / Metropolitan Industries / Utility MFG Co / Spartus Corp, 711-15 W . Lake St., Chicago, IL

The Clix Minicam is part of the infamous family of bakelite minicams produced out of the same Lake Street factory in the late ’30s and 1940s. These cheap-o “candid type” cameras were marketed under literally dozens of different brand names AND manufacturer names, with no rhyme or reason as to which name would appear on which model type.

Elgin Miniature Bakelite Camera by Elgin Laboratories, c. 1940

Elgin Laboratories / Utility MFG Co. / Spartus Corp., 711-15 W. Lake Street, Chicago, IL

The Elgin Miniature Camera is part of the infamous family of bakelite minicams produced out of the same Lake Street factory in the late ’30s and 1940s. These cheap-o “candid type” cameras were marketed under literally dozens of different brand names AND manufacturer names, with no rhyme or reason as to which name would appear on which model type.

Falcon Minette Bakelite Camera by Utility MFG Co., c. 1940

Utility MFG Co. / Spartus Corp, 711-715 W. Lake Street, Chicago, IL

The Falcon Minette was, in theory, just another of the many cheap bakelite camera brands produced out of Jack Galter’s Lake Street factory during the late 1930s and early 1940s. You can get the full crazy story of this photo industry phenomenon on our main Spartus Camera history page.

As for this model,