Marlowe Camera Company, 612 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois            1931?

The Marlowe 16mm Automatic Cine Camera (spelled "Marlo" on its name tag), appears identical in design to DeVry's Model 47 16mm movie camera of 1930.


Aside from the design, it's interesting in that the Marlowe Camera Company's address at 612 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, was just down the street from the Q.R.S.- DeVry Corporation at 333 N. Michigan Avenue.  Instructional material accompanying the DeVry camera shown here was printed in August, 1930, whereas the Marlowe's directions are undated.

Also of note, advertisements for the DeVry and the directions for the Marlowe both cite New York and San Francisco in addition to Chicago as the central headquarters. The Marlowe's directions contain an introduction signed by "H.J. Marlowe". So far, nothing has been found linking this name with Q.R.S.-DeVry.  The name Harold J. Marlowe has been found on a number of patents, none of which were photographic related. The DeVry camera has Serial No. 1933, whereas the Marlowe has Serial No. 1566.


Patent No. 1,758,221 was granted to Herman DeVry, of Chicago, Illinois on May 13, 1930, the patent being assigned to the Q.R.S. - DeVry Corporation:


This patent covered the design for DeVry's "Lunchbox" 35mm motion picture camera, elements of which were also found in their 16mm cameras.


Looking at the interiors of the Marlowe and DeVry cameras, both cite Patent No. 1,758,221 along with "Pat. Applied For" and each camera's serial number.  The Marlowe's maker's tag states "Patents Pending" whereas the DeVry's does not. Other than Patent No. 1,758,221, no other patents have been found so far.

It's interesting in that the Marlowe's Serial No. 1566 is lower than the DeVry's Serial No. 1933. One would think the successor company (Marlowe) would have had a higher serial number if the range was continued. Being the opposite might make one question whether Marlowe came first, being acquired by DeVry. But this reasoning falls through since the patent was in DeVry's name.  Most likely, a new serial number range was established for the Marlowe.

Other than the DeVry's leather strap being stamped "Devry" and the differing name tags, both cameras are identical in most every respect. The DeVry is equipped with a Graf 20mm f5.6 lens, whereas the Marlowe has a faster Graf 20mm f3.5.

With the effects of the Great Depression, sales of most cameras were struggling.  In all probability, DeVry sold the camera's design and its tooling. Although an attempt by DeVry to market it under another name is a possibility, it seems rather unlikely.

An Internet search has yielded only one other example of the Marlowe 16mm. This, together with only one reference found on a motion picture camera collecting website and no advertisements, suggests that the Marlowe Camera Company was very short-lived.


Somewhere out there lies the real story behind the Marlowe 16mm, and I'll keep digging till I find it.