The Minox was invented by Walter Zapp who partnered with a Latvian radio company, VEF, in Riga. During the war years, Latvia fell under first Russian, then German occupation making the early years of the Minox company very difficult. With the aid of post-war US support in 1945, it finally moved to Germany where it was established as Minox Gmbh.
The main camera pictured here is an early Riga model made of stainless steel. Later post-war models were made of much lighter aluminum. The camera took 8x11mm pictures on film that was about a quarter the width of the recently introduced 35mm film type used by Leica. The camera measured only 3 1/8 x 1 1/8 x 5/8" (80 x 27 x 17mm) in its closed position, and weighed only 4.7oz (134g).
Film was advanced and the shutter cocked each time the camera was closed and opened again. So you wasted a frame if you did not take a picture each time the camera opened. This mechanism was changed on later models so that the film only advanced if the shutter had been depressed.
Above the viewfinder is a bar that slides to place a filter in front of the lens. Originally green or orange, it was later changed to ND.
|The Minox Riga in open position ready for taking a picture. The lens is located in the center with the viewfinder off to the right side. The knurled bar above the viewfinder can be used to slide a filter in front of the lens.|
|The Minox Riga in closed position.|