The heyday of the American TLR in 1946, and by 1953 only one remained. It was the Ciro-Flex, by now flying the Graflex banner, that had withstood the challenge of both American and European competition to become, by far, the longest-lived of the American TLR cameras. It had held on where all others had failed by sticking to basics: it combined high quality, up-to-date optics and shutters in the simplest, cheapest package possible, permitting beginning pros and serious amateurs to sacrifice convenience, rather than quality, in order to balance the budget (It is worth noting that this same purpose was served decades later by the last Japanese TLRs, the Yashica-Mat and the Mamiya C series).
But even that couldn’t last. In 1953 and 1954 the flood of Japanese TLRs began. These matched the Graflex/Ciro’s quality and price, and far outmatched it in convenience features and appearance. When users could get something" just like a Rollei" for the price of a Ciro-Flex, the handwriting appeared not only on the wall but on the bottom line as well. In 1957, Graflex finally gave up the battle and
officially discontinued the last of the Ciro-Flex-based TLRs – the /200, ironically the model most closely resembling the original Ciro-Flex A of1940. Graflex closed down the Ciro operation entirely, discontinuing the Ciro35-based Graphic 35 as well as the TLR, and turned to Kowa in Japan to fill the 35mm gap as they abandoned the TLR completely.
My day out with my Graflex 22. High Street, Minehead, Porlock, Somerset, England. in the summer of 1998.
Minehead area that celebrates the town’s traditions. For example, one local tradition is that of the Hobby Horse (or as it is known there, the Obby Oss) which takes to the streets for four days on the eve of the first day of May each year with musicians and rival horses. In the Minehead event, there are three rival hobby horses, the Original Sailor’s Horse, the Traditional Sailor’s Horse and the Town House that appear on Show Night or the eve of May Day. On May Day Morning, the three horses salute the sunrise at the crossroads on the outskirts of town, and then join in a ceremony called the Bootie on the following days.
The horses are made out of wooden frames which are painted and then carried on the shoulders of dancers. The top of the horse is covered in ribbons and coloured fabric. The appearance of the horses is believed to bring good luck and the event is wonderful to watch. Just down the road you’ll find the pretty Porlock Weir, which has developed around the harbour and offers stunning views of the Exmoor coast.
Full of quaint buildings dating back to the 17th century, Porlock Weir also boasts a number of fine restaurants, making the most of the local produce, and boutique hotels. Apart from being a good starting point for a number of circular walks, Porlock Weir is also a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts – the local saltmarsh offers a wonderful habitat for coastal birds, whilst the remains of a prehistoric forest can be viewed at a very low tide.