November 10, 2006 -- Michael Tisdale
This is a window sign from a Bolex franchised dealer; I wish I knew which one. From what I understand, it's from the early to mid 1960s; the Bolex typeface also seems to suggest as much. It's made of glass and measures 18 1/2" wide by 18" tall. It fits into a 1/2" chrome finished frame, which gives it a total size of 19 1/2" wide by 19" tall. The glass is back-painted with two-tone white/grey stripes, with "Bolex" printed in black and "Precision-built in Switzerland" in red script; the logo and Bolex name both have a gold mirror finish trim.

I used to hang this sign on my wall, until I moved to Los Angeles and experienced my first earthquake (a 5.2). Actually, I didn't take it down, even after watching the walls shake. After several earthquakes and a few cross-country moves, I decided I was pressing my luck and decided to keep it in a padded box. It's very fragile and it's only one of two that I've ever come across. Besides, it wasn't meant to be hung flat against a wall.

Bolex Glass Mirror Sign
Still has a mirror finish on the gold trim, but the red color has faded.

I spoke with another collector about 10 years ago who owned one. He said that these signs were originally mounted to a metal light box, and that the light box was hung from the ceiling on a chain. An electrical cord extending from the rear of the box was plugged into a wall outlet, illuminating the sign from inside. Since the glass is backpainted, this might explain why the red color has faded so much on mine; that, and a combination of sunlight from being hung in a store front window. Unfortunately, I don't have the box.

Backside of sign
The paint has chipped on some areas on the back.

I've thought about building my own lightbox, or at least a box that could support the sign so that it could be stood upright on a flat surface. (That's on my list of things to do "one of these days"). It deserves to be displayed, but I don't feel comfortable with hanging it anymore.

Got any interesting camera dealer signs or other unique items? Bolex Collector would love to hear about it. Just send an email.