Everyone oughtta be a world authority on “something”…

A conversation with a work colleague just then reminded me of my languishing webpage devoted to the obscure 1940’s aluminium press camera, the Rilex!

Rilex Press Camera Page

What started with one accidentally purchased camera, and a thirst for information about it, grew into an “accidental” collection of three, and the reasonably comprehensive (albeit terribly designed and slow to load!) webpage above.

The nicest thing to happen from this was when the daughter of Curtis Riley (the inventor) emailed me out of the blue with some friendly tidbits of information.

Although a bit troublesome to use nowadays (Ilford still makes a 2 1/2 x 3 1/2″ sheet film (HP5) to special order – but you need to plan ahead), they are actually a really nice camera, with oodles of movements in the front standard and a satisfyingly machined rotating back.  Better still, they are quite beautiful.

It’s still a dream to find one with the rail extensions… but for now, having reminded myself all about them, I should take one out for a spin. At the very least it will clear some HP5 out of the fridge.

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5 thoughts on “Everyone oughtta be a world authority on “something”…

  1. Marc, I just saw an Italian website that is offering a Rilex with the extension bars… if you are still interested.
    The DeLuxe model that I have has the ability to convert from the roll film to the little rectangular boxes that have a plate on each side. I can place the box in the camera, remove a sliding plate, take the photo, replace the place and remove the box to turn it to the other side, so that I can remove the other plate for a second photo. This particular camera was made to order and comes in a lovely leather camera case with velvet lined compartments that hold the additional film, flash bulbs and the flash pan that attaches. Dad told me that the lens alone cost him $400 way back then. The only thing wrong with it since 1961 is that the shutter is frozen. Dad said that after it was prepared the buyer didn’t have the money to pay for it. So, we still have it.

    1. I am always interested Kate!! Please send details… Your DeLuxe sounds really functional, except for the shutter… Can you get it to open at all? At least then you could use slow film, and a Fedora 🙂 I am delighted to hear there’s still a Rilex in the family. There have been a couple of Rilex cameras on ebay lately too – one (a Model B) a fortnight ago (200610601884) had been extensively modified to take Exakta lenses, and sold really quickly. There’s another up currently (relisted) with the Hugo Meyer rangefinder too. It never rains but it pours, and why do I have to hear about these things when I’m trying to save pennies for my trip to Iceland in a couple of weeks. Life is so great/cruel/great etc.

      Great to hear from you again!

  2. Mr. Morel,

    My name is John Ferguson. Curtis Riley was my grandfather. Since I was a young boy and old enough to understand the stories of my grandfathers inventions, I have dreamt of finding a Rilex and being able to thus give it to my mother, Curtis Riley’s oldest daughter, Diane. I am not a wealthy man, but if you are willing to part with one of the two that you own, I will do all that I can to meet your price. I will certainly understand if you cannot part with one, but oh how I pray that you will. Please call me at 864-314-4859. Thanks, John

    1. Hi John, Have you chatted to the other members of your family? My understanding from various correspondence is that your family still had a number of the cameras?
      Cheerio, Marc

      1. Marc,

        I was not aware of one in our family. My mother definitely does not have one and though I have seen my Aunt Barbara on a few occasions in the past few years, she has never mentioned having one. She and her husband, my Uncle Ed, were out from Colorado for my nephews wedding a year or so ago and I seem to recall a discussion about the Rilex at which it surly would have been mentioned if anyone from Aunt Barbara’s side of the family had one. I see from the post above that my Aunt Kate has one, but I was not aware of it as unfortunately I have not seen her since I was a young fellow and we each wound up on opposite coasts of the US. I am glad to know there is one in the family. I will check ebay at your suggestion , but if you hear of one, please let me know, and if you ever decide you would be willing to part with yours, please contact me as I would gladly offer you compensation above actual value since there is certianly more value in the camera to me than to a typical buyer. Also, if my Aunt Kate happens to see this post, please e-mail me at jferguson@ecmins.com as I would love to reconnect! It has been far too long.

        Thanks, John

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