Argus C Series Camera Internal Faceplates

A chronological progression of significant changes in the internals of the faceplates of Argus C series cameras. Serial numbers of known models that are essentially identical to the examples shown are listed. Approximate year of production for the listed serial number shown in parentheses after.

Copyright 2010-2014 by Phillip G. Sterritt

email Phillip G. Sterritt

Last updated 3/18/2014.

Rick Oleson is very knowledgeable about cameras and manufacturing processes and such. He provided the following insights about these, from which I learned a lot and for which I am grateful:

"[The faceplates] are all die castings; there is a significant retooling of the die after C 318801, and the die for C 3040C looks like it might have been a prototype or temporary tool. The round marks on the backs of these parts are where there were pins in the die which push out after the die opens to remove the part from the die. The unusually large number and almost random locations of these in the earlier tools is interesting. These are a detail that tends not to be identical from one tool to another, usually left to the toolmaker to work out, so almost like fingerprints they can help determine whether a die has been reworked to make a design change or whether a completely new die has been made. One of these dies was probably good for something on the order of 100,000 parts, so there may be some evolution of modifications within a single die before it was replaced with a new one. Within CC-306, some design changes have been made but the pin pattern remains unchanged, and then between the last CC-306 and the first 55-3, the part design seems very much the same but the pin pattern is different; so these cast-in numbers may have been to identify the tool being used, as opposed to the part being made."

In an interview with former Argus engineer Richard Foster, who worked at Argus from 1946-1956, he mentioned Doehler-Jarvis of Toledo, Ohio as a source of die castings.

C 2704C (1938)

Submission from Tom Heckhaus, during his restoration of the camera. An original C with the two-range, 'fast/slow' (f-s) switch on the front below the shutter cocking lever. The formed metal piece that is attached to the back of the f-s switch is visible in lower right of the plate (as seen from this side). The shutter speed dial has been removed. Note the many 'die push out' marks as described by Rick Oleson and the lack of other machining, other than the arc-shaped recess just below the shutter speed dial, upper left, which accommodates a pin on the drum spring that limits its travel. Compare this with the early single-range model below. Note especially the crack-marks that are just beginning to show, radiating outward from the 'die push out' marks on C 2704, and how much more pronounced they are on C 3040. Rick Oleson suggests these are evidence the die was wearing out already, stronger evidence that it was a prototype or temporary tool.
Description of the f-s C and later shutter mechanisms

C 3040C (1938)

C 4128C (1938)

Slotted hole and detents for 'f-s' mechanism still present, lower right below shutter cocking lever hole. Now there is also machining for the beam that transmits the shutter speed setting from the cam on the shutter speed dial to the escapement link, below the shutter speed dial, and also to the left of the vestigial machining for the f-s mechanism, for the other end of the escapement linkage. There is no longer need for the arc-shaped machining around the shutter speed dial, as the spring-travel-limiting pin has been moved to the body and a similarly-shaped cavity in the body accommodates the pin. Thanks to Richard Mueller for 4128C.

C 9376C (1938)

C 14292C (1938)

'Die push out' marks have changed, presumably a new die. Note that the slot for the f-s switch has become a small hole and the detents for the two positions of the f-s switch are no longer present.

C-2 43054C (1939)

C-2 48897C (1939)

C-2 50801C (1939)

C-2 53191C (1939)

Hole above pivot point for shutter mechanism added, lower left (covered by a small metal disk). Tom Heckhaus noticed there's no machined indentation for a rangefinder tint patch around the smaller window close to the viewfinder in faceplates prior to this one. This is consistent with most Cs having no rangefinder tint.

C-3 C314965 (1939)

C-3 C318704 (1940)

C-3 C318801 (1940)

Note machining around shutter cocking lever hole, lower right, presumably to accommodate flash sync plate on top of shutter cocking block.

C-3 0334222 (1940)

Faceplate now alloy instead of aluminum. "CC-306" part number.

C-2 0269625 (1940)

Brass retaining bracket riveted over recess where shutter speed coupling beam goes, upper left.

C-2 0275846 (1941)

C-2 0285620 (1942)

C-3 0384360 (1942)

C-3 27948 (1945-46)

C-3 45605 (1945-46)

Hole above pivot point for shutter mechanism enlarged, lower left (covered by small brass disk)

C-3 80804 (1946)

C-3 (1)02700 (1946-47)

C-3 (1)09502 (1946-47)

C-3 175300 (1947)

"55-3" part number, plus logo-looking mark after 55-3. '02700' and '09502' have been determined to be examples of the mis-numbered, later cameras -- their serial numbers should almost certainly be 102700 and 109502.

C-3 202820 (1947)

C-3 311428 (1948)

"7720" below "55-3" part number. 311428 identical except for '55-46' part number.

C-3 395897 (1949)

C-3 435626 (1949)

Machining around threaded brass insert for idler gear cover now extends all the way to the rangefinder dial area. Rangefinder tint is now yelow, too.

C-3 538584 (1950)

"A" suffix after "55-3". Pin marks near idler gear mounting seem deeper, almost machined.

C-3 688625 (1951)

C-3 767096 (1952)

C-3 786671 (1952)

"A" suffix changed to "B", "7720" part number changed to "9375".

C-3 819460 (1952)

"C-14103-C" part number, logo below, many die marks

C-3 991220 (1954)

C-3 1003997 (1954)

C-3 1366988 (1955)

'Shoulder' molded into upper right corner. "NL" stamped above part number on 1366988.

C-3 1434742 (1956)

C-3 1448243 (1956)

C-3 1449768 (1956)

C-3 1648548 (1957)

"NPC" below part number. 1434742 has '2' next to 'NPC', 1448243 has '1'; perhaps this indicates something like the similar numbering found in the bakelite bodies of A series and C series cameras, though they are there because there are multiple cavities in a single bakelite mold. Maybe there were multiple dies (dice?), or even a single die that made multiple plates in one pressing? Die pin mark in upper righthand corner is smaller.

Match-Matic C-3 1829346674 (1959)

Standard C-3 1925361643 (1965)

Standard C-3 1926172475 (1966)

"14644-C" part number, "NPC" below