Perfex Twenty-Two 1942-45

Tomei Collection

In 1938, the Candid Camera Corporation of America was formed in Chicago by Carl and Joseph Price along with Benjamin Edelman. In 1945, the company changed its name to simply the Camera Corporation of America.  Having done well making and selling Radios, they leaped into the camera field with the intention of producing an all American 35mm camera with the features of the Leica and Contax cameras but at a low price.

The Perfex Twenty-Two was produced during the dark days of WWII, from 1942 until 1945.  As a consequence, its construction was determined by the limited availability of many materials such as steel, aluminum, and chrome.  Like all other Perfex cameras, it has the unique 38mm threaded lens mount.  The  features were very similar to those of the model Fifty-five.


Of all Perfex models, the Twenty-Two is the most uncommon even if not actually rare.

An Unlikely Family Tree:

From Perfex to Graflex

In 1939, Perfex introduced the model Forty-Four, the first "modern" 35mm to replace their rather strange Perfex Speed Candid that had been launched barely a year before.  During the next decade the company would follow up with no less than six more models, none of which could be considered successful.  In addition to the Twenty-Two shown above, the other models included the Forty-Four (1939-40), Thirty-Three (1940-41), Fifty-Five (1940-47), de Luxe, (1947-50), One-O-One (1947-50), One-O-Two (1948-50), and the Cee-Ay 35 (1949-50).  The designs of the last three models had abandoned the focal plane shutter in favor of a clearly more reliable leaf shutter.

By 1948 the company was in dire financial straights.  They had eventually incorporated Alphax and Compur-Rapid shutters, and high quality Ektar and Xenon lenses in their cameras.  However, by 1950 they were forced to file bankruptcy due to continuing poor sales.  Soon thereafter they sold the production equipment for their final model, the Cee-Ay 35, to a small start-up company, Ciro Cameras Inc., located in Delaware, Ohio.  The new company continued to manufacture the Cee-Ay 35 and marketed it as the Ciro 35 through 1954.  Ciro applied some modestly successful marketing strategy by offering three variants as determined by which lens was mounted on the camera and whether it was in chrome or black.  These were called the R, S, and T models.  It so happened that about this time a big company, Graflex Inc., decided to enter the 35mm camera market and were looking for an acquisition to launch this new side of their business.  Graflex bought Ciro and took over marketing of the Ciro 35 models which soon evolved into the more sophisticated Graflex Graphic 35 by 1955.

Ciro 35 Model S models in black and silver with the original Ciro flash attachment shown right.

After the purchase of the Ciro 35, Graflex introduced push-button focusing and an overall improved design in the Graphic 35 (1955-57).  Clearly, the design as well as the materials and build quality of the Graflex models represented a great improvement over the original Perfex camera.  None the less, Graflex went off the track and proceeded to add further design complexities including a film advance driven by a replaceable CO2 cartridge.  What did you expect from a descendent of the wierd Speed Candid?




Perfex Forty-Four (1939-40)

Perfex de Luxe (1947-50)