The Abominable Traid Fotron

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by charles_miller|5, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. Yes, for laughs I picked up a very clean and possibly functional Traid Fotron, just to hold the thing one time... What was Traid Corp thinking? Is this enormous, tastelessly sculpted brick for real? Do you think they actually intended to take consumer-level photography by storm, or was this (as the story goes) just a con-job to defraud people door-to-door? I mean, if it was a lightweight and fragile plastic box, I could more readily accept the fraud idea... But this gigantic thing weighs 3 pounds easily, and is cram-packed with mysterious technology. By "mysterious" I don't mean ALIEN technology, necessarily, but "mysterious" as in WHY THE HECK DID THEY DO IT? I don't suppose there's any way to use this King Kong today, with its sealed 828 film cartridge only processed by Traid Corp (which mercifully stopped making the things). But has anybody tried to jerry-rig a film cartridge and process a few pics with the Fotron? I'd like to see the results and hear any other comments on the monstrosity. :) Charles Miller Kings Mountain, NC
  2. I remember that, in the early 60s, these were sold door to door, I think for something like $400 in 60s dollars, and I remember seeing the film for them in cartridges. I have no idea how well they worked.
  3. My perception of the vacuum cleaners, cookware, etc. that is sold door-to-door is that it is pretty decent stuff, but sold at maybe three times what it is worth- and contrary to the sales claims, not nearly as unique as they make it out.

    It looks like that camera has a built in flash? That alone could have added some hefty weight at one time- I know I bought a fairly small old flash that probably weighed two pounds. Did it possibly have the flash intensity connected to the focusing and/or aperture trying to get auto-flash operation? That could account for a lot of complexity if done back then and on a small scale. (Weren't most TV's sold then still tube-type?)
  4. Well, this is late 1960s technology, which was transistorized (not tube), but by no means is
    this thing micro-miniaturized. The Fotron in the picture above is a solid 9" long (including
    hand strap) x 5" tall x 3" thick. The camera has a built-in flash, is rechargeable (with
    multiple internal capacitors and a kitchen appliance-sized power cord), and has a built-in
    power winder. The Fotron owner manual describes the indicator lights as "neon" and
    describes the camera as programmable (you select distance by push button control). And
    this thing was on the street years before other cameras went all-electric. Sheesh.

    To me, the Fotron is a real enigma, but I can understand its failure---this is just NOT a
    practical size or weight for a recreational camera, especially when the competition was a 6
    oz Kodak Instamatic.

    Charles Miller
    Kings Mountain, NC
  5. I have read the allegations of it being a con-job. However, it may have been intended to defraud investors and people in the distribution chain as much as end-users.

    The one I have is missing the battery, and it is still very heavy. I wonder what is actually inside.

  6. I found this account of the Class Action Suit brought by the purchasers of these cameras.
    It seems they purchased the cameras for $491 (a lot of dough back then)...The cameras were misrepresented and the value was determinened to be $40. They sued to have the difference refunded. Doesn't say what the outcome was.
    In the 80's I used to see them all the time in the thrift-store bargain bins. A sad ending for a $491 camera. Caveat Emptor!
  7. I am pretty sure the many TVs produced in the 1960s had a myriad of tubes. I think transistors were just being put into small radios.

    Onward; why in the heck would you give $491 to anyone that just showed up at your door. I think the buyers kind of deserved what they got. Always know, read, and study before you buy.
  8. Well, yes, most televisions in the 60s were still tube-type, and we had a tube-type TV well
    into the 1970s... But that doesn't mean it was the cutting edge of technology. The cutting
    edge was transistor technology (developed by Texas Instruments in the late 1940s), which
    is what allowed us to start miniaturizing radios, TVs, computers and cameras, among
    other things.

    Within the context of this thread, I think the suggestion was that the Traid Fotron might
    somehow be a product of tube-type technology; and my contention was that the Fotron,
    bulky as it was, was more likely a product of transistor technology, given all of the
    features crammed into it. :)

    Charles Miller
    Kings Mountain, NC
  9. Hi Charles,

    It was pig, scammed lots of people, with tax at about $500. The film was 1"x1" on 828 film in a proprietary cartridge. It probably has value as a historical collectors item.

    It was sold door to door, but is was no Electrolux, or Avon, or Fuller Brush, the law suits ruled.

  10. There was so much negative about this camera, I thought I'd put in something positive. My late husband bought one from a man at his work. Yes, it was heavy and complicated to get the pictures developed, but the strobe enabled me to take pictures of the stage in a theater from clear back in a middle row. The color was great, and we really enjoyed it for quite a long time. They had a special on film, so I bought 3 boxes. The camera never worked again. We were very disappointed, but we had several years of very enjoyable pictures from it. (Of course there was no one local to even look at it to see why it quit.) I came across it the other day up on a closet shelf, just sitting there in its leather case.......waiting.
  11. I have the Traid Fotron, that my parents bought. I recived it when they passed away.I know that they paid quite a bit of money for it. I used it alot after I recived it. But one day the company was there and then the next they were out of bussiness.It may look like a monster to use now, but it really was quite simple and easy to handle and took wonderful pictures.
  12. I have NO answers. My mother worked for the company in the 60's. When I saw a LOT of various cameras on Ebay, the Fotron was one of them, I knew I had to bid. I won the auction at about $20.00 I was happy. My mother was proud of her new job and the camera she was making until all of the flak came about. She of course lost her job when the bad flak started. I don't remember if she bought one or not, just memories.
  13. rdm


    AWSOME .. I want one , does anyone have any negatives or prints they can scan to show? also anyone have one laying around they may want to donate to me ..heheh..
  14. rdm


    i did just acquire a cartridge of color slide film for the camera that used proprietary cartridges and this shows the backing paper and because the camera it does not say anywhere on the cartrage or box what type of film it is, but i think it might be Kodachrome and im looking for an 828 camera to use the film in, even tho its in a cartridge i think i can re roll it onto a spool after cracking open the cartridge.

Share This Page