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. page.
This particular "candid type camera" (they had to say "type" because it wasn't legally classifiable as a real candid camera) was called the Champion, and while our artifact labels the manufacturer as "The Camera Man," the same camera was also produced under the banner of Lee Industries. In fact, another one of the cameras in the museum collection, the Leecrest by Lee Industries, featured the exact same mold as the Champion. All of these names were loosely, if not directly, tied in with the Spartus Camera Corp. and its tangled web of cheap wartime cameras.
The ad below is for a New York camera dealer and features the Champion with no attribution of a manufacturer at all. Par for the course, friends. Nobody has ever totally figured this stuff out.
See Out Full Collection of Spartus related Bakelite MiniCams by Clicking the Image Below