Ansco Automatic Reflex

The CameraSchematic drawing of the Automatic Reflex.

The Company

The Ansco Automatic Reflex was beautifully engineered: shiny glass, chrome and fine leather. It looked every bit modern, even slightly futuristic. It was intended to establish Ansco, based in Binghamton, NY, as a major player the serious amateur photography product market. The Reflex was designed to appeal to discriminating photographers who took pride in owning and using nothing less than the finest. Unfortunately for those photographers, and Ansco, the camera did not live up to its billing and when production ceased several years later, so did Ansco’s attempt to court the serious amateur.

Despite its failure in the market, the Automatic Reflex, and its story, are fascinating history. Collectible and user cameras show up on auction websites regularly, as do other accessories. While it can’t compete with later Rolleiflex cameras, it holds its own a functional twin lens camera with a unique character all its own.

Learn more about the Automatic Reflex, how to identify your camera (and potentially fake “prototypes”) and more about the history of the camera and the company that made it.