The Reid is a fascinating clone of the Leica, I knew the Army Officer who supplied the sample cameras, drawings and specifications to Reids at the beginning of the war. He was instructed to collect all Leica Equipment by requisition from the Photographic trade, and shops, repair shops and individuals, along with any other Zeiss or top makers.
Reid took a while to do initial drawings for production, as they were making aviation equipment as priority work, and Whitehall would not commit to manufacture during the early years of the war, as the cost would be high to duplicate, or exceed the standards of the German Industry. Besides which the requisitioned items covered a lot of needs, and Whitehall were still buying new Leica equipment via Sweden!!!
By the time Whitehall OK'ed the order it was too late in the war, but the order went ahead after hostilities ceased, later on dumping Reid with stock that was not used. They decided to sell it to the public after the war, and developed new models, but they were just too expensive. Reid had complete access to the Leica drawings at the end of the war, and amalgamated the imperial Reid drawings and the metric ones from Wetzlar.
Lots of military marked ones were boxed as bodies only and stored till sold off in the 1970's, I purchased a new body, but no lens, as TTH had sold the lenses separately to Leica owners.
The odd thing is that the Reid was very expensive to produce, as Reid's had not realised that Leica had production tricks that allowed slacker tolerances to be used by pick and match of parts. Reid tried to make to very high tolerances, and it cost them dearly in trouble assembling the cameras, The very same problem that Zeiss lumbered themselves with pre-war.
TTH had similar troubles with the lens, they made the screwed focus parts, but had trouble fitting without slack, again Leica's trick was to make them in loose tolerances, and then get a girl to measure and mark and sort them all, then store them till one was made that fitted perfectly!!
As long as it has never been abused with excessive wear and tear, the Reid should exceed the quality of the other commercial copies and it usually exceeds the Leica. The TTH Standard lens is very good indeed.
Last Edit: Sept 24, 2012 3:40:17 GMT -5 by Stephen
The reference to TTH lenses reminded me that they were being sold off cheap by some dealers in the early 1970s. Here is an advert from the 3rd February 1971 Amateur Photographer magazine by a London dealer A. W. Young Photographic. I'm sure that the Dixons chain were also selling them at low prices but I can't find their advertisement at the moment.
That's a very late advert date for the Taylor Taylor & Hobson standard lenses, A.W.Young had taken over stocks of spares and partially assembled cameras in a deal with Decca Ltd in the late 1960's, who owned Reid and Sigrist Ltd., by then, and had stopped all production, when they saw the books of Reids!
It is often mistakenly understood to be Decca Records Ltd who bought the Reid company, the same firm, but it was the Decca Electronics Division, who made the Decca Navigator instruments who acquired Reid & Sigrist, as they were basically an Aviation Instrument company, and fitted into Decca's business, but they did not like producing loss making 35mm luxury cameras.
A.W. Young's employed skilled repairers, and some ex-Reid staff to continue assembly, whilst the stocks of the parts were used up. This was over by the mid 1960's, but then Rank Photographic stepped in to clear the stocks of TTH lenses that they still had in storage in Leicester, and sold them as a batch to A.W.Young, about 1969, which must tie in with the advert you have from about two to three years later.
If Stanley Kalms of Dixons was involved, it was as a retailers purchase of wholesale stock from Youngs to sell in the Dixon's retail store chain. I was in the trade by then, and never saw any lenses in the Dixon's High Street Stores, although they may have deliberately confined the sales to the then flagship Dixons Store in Bond Street, in London.
Dollands sold some of the lenses at the time, a member of staff at my shop had worked for them, and had personally sold some of the lenses. Another member of staff was the retired Rank Sales representative who had arranged the sale of the TTH lenses to Young's, and he never mentioned Dixon's as having any. So it must be that Youngs sold them on wholesale.
Another deal was done on the glass from the Bell and Howell Photon lenses made by TTH and others, they changed the mount to M39 to sell them off to Leica and Reid owners. I don't think the work was done by Youngs, but by a companion company to TTH, part of Rank Ltd.
The reason I researched it carefully was to try and trace a new TTH standard lens for the body I had, which is still in pristine condition in special ministry wrapping for storage. It was carefully removed for a test film, and then repacked again...... Still never found a mint lens to go with it so far......
There is long forgotten reason for selling the lenses separately to the body, there was a saving on the purchase tax, such surplus lens could be sold tax free, classed as spares, or accessories. As long as there was no retail price to maintain, you could discount and be free of the tax, the sort of business that Stanley Kalms liked!!
I think that Youngs sold off the bodies as spares for the same reason, tax, either tax free or reduced rate.
A friend who had also worked in the war on the supply of specialist aerial cameras for the RAF was in a top Custom and Excise position, and mentioned the strange and inventive tax schemes used on all sorts of products after the war, like buying a van, and having windows fitted to convert to an estate car, no purchase tax at all.
Cameras as spare parts could bypass tax, if they had no lenses at one point, but the Treasury soon stopped the dodgy move!! He was a Leica addict, and had a Reid as well, preferring the Reid and the TTH lens.
I do collect Leica Clones, Lookalikes and Wannabes from in the days when FED's were rare exotica!!, and the Japanese, apart from Canon, where unknown in the UK, apart from sales to shops in the West End by tourists and US servicemen.
The French equivalent of the Reid is equally interesting, the Foca, with Som Berthiot or Angénieux lens...costs even more than Reid these days.
Last Edit: Sept 24, 2012 5:55:09 GMT -5 by Stephen
I had forgotten about my Foca, so this is probably a better set. It's really an international group, with representation from England, France, Germany and Japan. My Reid was maybe originally bought without a lens since it has a Nikon lens on it. My Canon is my best keepsake of the four since it was given to me by my late brother in law, who bought it while stationed in Korea during that war and made hundreds of slides with it, which are all mine now. I actually have not used any of these cameras myself.