Welcome to Steve's Robot I Camera Page.
The Robot I was designed in 1931 by Heinz Kilfitt, a watchmaker in Schwelm, Westphalia. He offered his prototype to both Kodak and Agfa neither of whom were interested
because it utilised such a small format and the body was so compact. He subsequently met-up with Hans Heinrich Berning, son of the famous manufacturer Otto Berning. Otto Berning put up the Capital, for a small factory in Dusseldorf and the first Robot was patented in 1934 (DRP 638853).
The original patent did not include the spring motor, this was said to be
Berning's idea, and was to distinguish the camera from other offerings.
Manufactured from 1934-1938 the Robot I had a 24x24mm format, with a motor capicity of 24 frames, utilised 35mm film in special 'K' Film Cassettes (identical for take-up and feed), and had interchangeable 26mm thread screw mount lenses.
It had no rangefinder, it was not needed because it's short focal length lenses, were almost invariably in focus. It was to go through 5 versions with a total production run of approx 30,000 units. All units had a serial #'s with no prefix in the range of 1 to 30000
In 1939 you could buy the following Robot I's
Camera only, without lens and zone focusing mount .....$60.00
With Meyer Primotar F/3.5, 30 mm focus .....$114.00
With Zeiss Tessar F/2.8, 32.5 mm focus .....$154.00
I have a number of Robot 1 Cameras described and pictured here!:
Click on Thumbnail for Larger Image (use back button to return!)
17617 with Box
This is A Robot I Serial # 17617 From 1936, still in it's original box with instructions and a Zeiss Tessar Lens, # 1726339. It is a version 3, Shown by a Double advance knob on right, 14mm winding knob and shutter release lock, a two piece right angle viewfinder with single screw in the top middle of the finder
Rear View of Above Camera Showing K cassettes and serial#
Top View of Camera Showing winding knob in centre and finder on left, advance on right
Box For above
Inside Box Detail For above
This Camera # 17354 is also a model 3 but mysteriously has brassed winding knob and has an early advance knob
4084 is a 2nd version from 1935, it has the case code SAZE with an exposure guide.
Detail of Case Screw - Exposure Guide
15208 Another version 2 (broken finder)
18958 in a simple brown leather case
Three more version 3's 18499 (missing finder),18844,18958
This Robot I (16853), Belonged to My Uncle, he sent me it because it was broken, unfortunately after dismantling it, the inside was badly cracked, and it was beyond repair, but it shows the steel body, and innards well!