The Wollensak Rapax Shutter

Ansco used Wollensak’s new Rapax shutter and a Wollensak lens in their Reflex. Ciro used the same shutter, and essentially the same lens, in several models of their Ciro-flex camera.

The Rapax featured flash synchronization from the start, according to an announcement in the May 1945 issue of American Photography. For whatever reason, Ansco didn’t implement the flash sync feature on their first round of Reflex cameras.

The new Rapax shutter, announced by Wollensak Optical Co., Rochester, features built-in automatic flash lamp synchronization and shutter speeds from one second to 1/400 second. A single click-stop allows the use of any popular flash lamp by selection of either a 5 or 20-millisecond position in the larger size shutters. 5 millisecond speed only with the smaller size shutters. The Rapax shutter is mechanically tripped by hand, thus the electrically controlled flashing of the lamp is the only drain on the battery. Flash peak and maximum shutter opening are synchronized by a precision built-in gear train. Entire production of the new shutter is being used at present by the armed forces.

The lack of a dedicated flash sync, although common on many cameras at the time, was frequently pointed out in the press at the camera’s introduction. Ansco added flash sync and offered a retrofit for existing owners. Based on one sample, the retrofit was a moderately labor intensive process.