I’ve been reading a lot lately of “wearable tech” various smart devices beginning to sprawl outward from the pocket, and spread their way over the body.
Small pieces of technology worn closer to the area they relate to, or in a somewhat more functional place- than tucked away in your coat or purse.
It’s a bit of a buzz word at the moment, with “smart watches”, “smart glasses” and a whole host of other marvellous devices checking and reporting on every aspect of our human function.
“Wear it always… like your watch”. Ensign Midget’s advertising slogan.
Such valuable revenue space we must be. I guess by purchasing these devices we warrant their deliverance unto us. Deeper and more personal they will probe, until no doubt we end up with so much tech supporting us, we cannot live, or at least forget that we can, without them.
But wearable tech is by no means a new concept.
I thought it fitting (Nice choice of words there I thought.. ) with all this hoop-rah
around wearable tech to pull out some from the 1930’s.
The device shown in the images above is my Grandfather’s Ensign Midget. From what I can locate appears to be a model 33. Here’s some info on the unit:
When it first appeared in 1934 the Ensign Midget was accompanied by a blaze of publicity. The covers of Ensign catalogues carried photographs of young women sporting the new camera and inside described the introduction as ‘A thrilling event’. Ensign also took advantage of the Midgets size with an advertising slogan suggesting that you “Wear it always… like your watch”.
The B.J.A. of 1935 reviewed it thus: “There can be no doubt that the camera will sell on sight, because of its minimum size and natty appearance. A girl will call it ‘sweet,’ and want to be given one.” Not surprisingly the camera sold well.
Ensign initially manufactured only two models of the Midget, the A/D and A/N both of which had an everset 3 Speed shutter. Optically the A/D was simpler having only an All-Distance lens and two simple rotary stops, small and large, it cost œ1 10s. The A/N had better optics a focusing Ensar-Anastigmat lens and 5 stops, it cost £2 10s
Although the camera was launched in 1934 the design for the Midget had been around for some time. It came from the man who produced many classic camera designs, Magnus Niell the Swedish engineer and designer.
Following the outbreak of war on September 3rd 1939 Ensign Ltd. began to capitalise on war fever, advertising the Midget as; ” …a bare half inch longer than a packet of ten cigarettes, and no thicker. It goes into a tunic pocket, with room to spare. It is essentially the camera for the man in camp. Just the thing to give a fellow who is called up or to a woman on Service.” Headlined in their catalogue for 1940 as ‘A Remarkable War-Time Camera’, the advert goes on to suggest; ” keep an Ensign Midget war-time diary.” urging the reader to; ” Buy a Midget and start now.” .
Ensigns advertising was extremely effective and it was very popular with those who used it. So much so that some manufacturers were still producing film for the Midget as late as the mid-seventies.
Detailed information courtesy of: