The Baby Clover
The camera is much inspired by the Kodak Baby Brownie. It has a rounded bakelite body, with a folding frame finder and an advance knob at the top left, as seen by the photographer. The whole top plate is removable for film loading. There big lugs on both sides of the body, with a short handle embossed CLOVER.
The shutter only has B and I settings switched by a small index. The shutter plate is marked CLOVER at the top and PAT. A. NO.26884 26885 at the bottom, and the release lever is attached to the front. The lens is fixed-focus, has no diaphragm and no marking.
In an advertisement dated August 1936, three versions are listed, all with B and 1/25 speeds and a Clover lens:
- Baby Clover A: black body (¥5);
- Baby Clover B: mottled body (¥5.50);
- Baby Clover B2: mottled body, 3×4 and 4×6.5 dual-format (¥6).
The simple leather case cost ¥0.90 and the ever-ready case cost ¥2. The B and B2 were mentioned as new versions.
Pictures of a surviving Baby Clover are displayed in two recent sources; they probably show the same example, corresponding to a Baby Clover A.
There is a big diamond-shaped logo moulded on the top plate, to the right of the viewfinder, which is not visible in the advertising illustration. The rear of the camera has an uncovered red window in the middle; the Baby Clover B2 probably has a different red window layout.
The Spirit is only known from Sugiyama, and is certainly a rebadged version of the Baby Clover. It is similar to the latter, except for the absence of the strap lugs and of the moulded logo. The shutter plate is marked SPIRIT at the top and has a diamond-shaped logo at the bottom that is perhaps the same that is present on top of the Baby Clover.
- Dates: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p. 336. The attribution of the camera to Ogi Industrial Works in Sugiyama, item 4033, is a mistake, surely because of a confusion between 萩 (hagi) and 荻 (ogi). The same source says 3×4cm format for item 4033 and 4×6.5cm for item 4072, the correct value being 4×6.5cm as is obvious from the shape of the viewfinder.
- Bakelite: Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.336, Zaisu Ikon, p.4.
- No diaphragm: Sugiyama, item 4033.
- Advertisement published in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.68.
- Sugiyama, item 4033, Zaisu Ikon, p.4. "Zaisu Ikon" is probably the pseudonym of "Y. Saji" reported as the owner of the camera in Sugiyama.
- Sugiyama, item 4072.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Item 77.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Items 4033 and 4072.
- Zaisu Ikon (座椅子遺恨, probably a pseudonym of Y. Saji). "Besuto sanka (B-1)" (ベスト讃歌[B-1], Vest hymn [B-1]). In Camera Collectors' News no.57 (March 1982). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Cover pages and p.4.