Kodak Retinette Type 160 1939

Tomei Collection

The Retinette Type 160 was introduced to the market in 1939 and discontinued the very same year.  Both the first version, Type 147, and the Type 160 were well received and filled an unmet need for a budget-priced camera. However, a critical decision had been made within the American Kodak and the German Kodak AG to adopt a design for the Retinette that used the same body and many components as that of the Retina.  With the onset of WWII, production of the German models ceased and Kodak USA was left with a new model but no supply of components (see comments on the Type 147.  Unlike other Kodak USA models such as the Bantam Special, it was not possible to continue production with equivalent American components since the Retina body had been manufactured in Germany.


I should note that it has been suggested that the Type 160 was created simply to reduce the backlog of Retina bodies and components as it became evident that the War would soon halt Kodak operations in Germany.  This is a reasonable explanation for the sudden and short-lived creation of a second Retinette version in the same year.  Coe mentions that about 41,000 Type 160 Retinettes were made in 1939.  A decade later, in 1949 Kodak re-introduced the line with the budget Retinette Type 012 which was very much like the Type 160 seen here.



This example has the Kodak K 4S shutter as did the Type 147, and the f/4.5 Kodak Anastigmat lens.  An upgraded version was available with a Compur shutter and f/3.5 lens.

Note that the knobs and frame counter in the upper housing are of nickel plated metal, whereas the lens/shutter mount is of polished aluminum.  Although this example has a shutter/lens and mount assembly very similar to that of the short-lived Type 147, the change of body design to that of the Retina permitted the mounting of assemblies in common with the Retina line.  This likely reflects the incorporation of an existing back log of Retina parts that needed to be used by Kodak AG given the rapidly degenerating world situation in 1939.  That year marked the official date for the termination of German made cameras and components although sales in the USA continued to as late as 1941 according to McKeown.