By Dan Hausman
In 1934 Derwin W. Worster applied for and received Patent No 92-882 for "A new, original and ornamental design for an Aerial Camera". Sometime shortly after that he established The Skyview Camera Company. Previous to establishing Skyview, he was employed as a salesman at Fowler & Slater, a Cleveland, Ohio Photographic Supply Company. Earlier records show his occupation as "Photo developer".
The camera was available in two sizes, Model D, 3 1/4 X 4 1/4, Model K 2 1/4 X 3 1/4 as well as 4x5 and 2 1/4 X 3 1/4 enlargers. Recommended lenses included a 150mm Zeiss Tessar, Goerz Dogmar and Wollensak Aerialstigmat. Focusing was lockable at infinity for Aerial use, but could be adjusted to as close as 6 1/2 feet. There was no rangefinder. Shutter speeds ranged from 1 second to 1/200, T and B.
Both the camera and enlarger feature a die cast aluminum alloy body finished in "crystalline finish" paint. Model D Camera weight is listed as 5lb 90z. Original 1938 selling price for the Model D was between $195.00 and $245.00 (with case, tripod adapter and filmpack back) , equaling about $3751.19 in today's dollars. Rarely offered on the used market, McKeown's 2006 edition lists the value as $120-180.00.
According to the company brochure, the camera was designed by an experienced pilot as well as photographer. Derwin Worster was an avid aviator and went on to help establish the Air Traffic Control System for the US. Contemporary postcards sponsored by Skyview show a plane at the Cleveland Airport with the company name painted on the side. Another postcard aerial view of the National Air Races is credited to "The Skyview Camera Company". At various times the address of the company is listed as being in North Olmsted, Derwin's residence and the Cleveland Municipal Airport. One of Derwin's daughters recalls helping to manufacture the enlargers in the family barn.
Brochures tout the potential income for Pilot Photographers supplying Aerial views to business, government and the general public. Claims are made in sales literature that cameras are in use by "Several branches of government". The Company Motto is "In the Sky, On land, On Sea" The Enlargers were advertised in the classified section of "Popular Science".
The company fades from view sometime in the late 1940's, Derwin Worster died in 1979.
Research on the company continues, if you have any information Please contact Dan Hausman care of The Ohio Camera Collector's Society.
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