Goodbye to Wolverhampton
The Merridale Street premises were inexpensive and
primitive, and in 1958 Corfield's were advised by Wolverhampton
Council that the factory was condemned. This meant looking for a new
home, but property was extremely expensive and difficult to find,
the nearest available was at Redditch. They decided that if they
moved so far, about 90% of their employees would not be able to
stay, and after polling the workforce found that just as many would
move to Northern Ireland where generous industrial development
grants were available. All assistance to find jobs was offered to
the people who chose to stay in Wolverhampton. The company even put
adverts in the local newspapers, on behalf of their departing
workforce, stating that a number of highly skilled people were
looking for employment. The works closed on January 30th 1959.
||The new premises at Ballymoney in Northern
The company moved to Ballymoney in County Antrim where
a new factory was made ready for them. Work soon got underway and
production of the Periflex 2 and Periflex 3 cameras restarted. Some
local skilled labour was available, but inevitably it fell far short
of what was required and so a lot of training was undertaken.
The Periflex 3a.
| Later that year the Periflex 3 was given a
facelift and the Periflex 3a was launched. More modern looking
knobs were used and a split-image rangefinder was added to the
focusing screen. The lens was given a black anodised body and
the adjustment rings had black and silver finger grips.
Three new Lumar and Lumax lenses were introduced. The
first was the 85mm f1.5 Super Lumax, which had 6 fully coated
elements and could focus down to 4ft. The other two were the 240mm
f4.5 Lumar and the 400mm f4.5 Tele Lumax. Within 12 months of the
move, production was higher than ever, which led to price reductions
of between 5% and 10% on cameras and lenses.
|The next camera was designed as a replacement
for the Periflex 2. It was basically a cheaper version of the
3a, called the Periflex Gold Star. The main difference was the
shutter, which only had a maximum speed of 1/300sec. At the same
time the 50mm f2.4 Lumax lens was introduced. It sold extremely
well and soon became the standard lens for the Gold Star.
||The top plate of a Perriflex Gold Star.
|The price difference between the Gold Star and
the Periflex3a was only £15 and so most people preferred to
purchase the cheaper Gold Star rather than pay the extra for
higher shutter speeds. Something had to be done about this, and
so the 3a was restyled to become the 3b. The main difference was
the external metalwork which was given a black anodised finish
instead of the usual 'silver' anodising.
||Another new camera was to return to the original
Periflex concept. It was to be a cheap camera that could be used
as a second body for existing camera users. It was basically a
Gold Star without the periscope viewfinder, and was sold in
three versions. The 'Interplan-A' had a Leica lens mount, the 'Interplan-B'
had a Practica lens mount, and the 'Interplan-C' had an Exacta
|The Interplan-A camera with a 135mm f3.5 Tele
Lumax lens. The 135mm viewfinder objective lens is attached to
the front of the viewfinder.
The company's final 35mm camera was the Maxim, which
was a cheap camera intended to be sold in the £25 to £32 price
range. It had no periscope and a non-interchangeable 45mm f3.5 Lumax
lens. Only a few were made and it was not sold commercially.
||The 1960's was a time of great change and
uncertainty in the British camera market. High quality,
reasonably priced Japanese cameras were starting to appear here
for the first time and so Corfield's had to do something to
counteract the threat. They decided to develop a high quality,
fairly cheap, two and a quarter inch square, single lens reflex
camera. The end product was the Corfield 66 which was designed
to produce twelve pictures on a standard 120 roll film, using a
removable roll film magazine.
|The body was constructed of aluminium pressure
die-castings and steel and brass pressings. It used a rubberised
fabric focal plane shutter with speeds from 1/10sec to 1/500sec.
Focussing was by a ground glass screen above the instant return
mirror. A focus magnifier was incorporated into the viewing
hood, the back and sides of which are made of rubberised fabric.
The standard lens was a 4 element 95mm f3.5 Lumax which could
focus down to 4 feet. It was of excellent quality and used
Corfield's own bayonet mount. The camera sold for £76 and
initial sales were quite good.
|The camera had two sturdy tripod bushes, one on
the bottom and one on the right-hand side.
|The camera fitted neatly in the palm of the
hand. The shutter release can be seen on the front in the bottom
|The Corfield 66 showing the bayonet mount. The
large knob on the left is the shutter speed dial, the small knob
is for winding the film. The rubberised fabric focusing
hood can be seen on the top of the camera.
Sadly only one batch of this excellent camera ever
went to the dealers. The reasons are explained in the next section.