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1960s Imperial Insta-Cube Camera // 60s Atomic 126 Camera

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Old-time box cameras have been collectible for years now, and it's easy to see why. We love the unpretentious design and styling - the way they perfectly typify their era.

Only recently, however, have collectors come to recognize the charms of the simple 1950s/1960s cameras. They weren't marketed as box cameras, it's true, but many of them are pure "box" in terms of functionality and specification. And they evoke their time period - mid-century - just as indelibly.

Take this 1960s Imperial Insta-Cube, for instance. It was made to use Kodak's drop-in 126 cartridge film - a format often referred to, then and now, as "Instamatic." Of course, "Instamatic" was a Kodak trademark, so other companies making 126 cameras had to figure out workarounds. This model used flashcubes, so "Insta-Cube" must have seemed like an inspiration.

The Imperial name had been around, on various entry-level cameras, since just after World War II (it was originally a brand of the Herbert George company). As far as I can tell, the Insta-Cube is one of the last Imperials; the brand wouldn't survive beyond the 1960s. It shows a certain design similarity to the contemporary Instamatics, but it has a distinctive look all its own - chunky and square-shouldered, in classic black with a silver face plate and accents. And there are some quirky touches too, like the odd little battery trap-door on top. It's pure space-age, through and through - you can easily imagine a plaid-shirted dad, on some family Florida vacation, using it to snap photos of one of the Gemini rocket launches.

This example is in nice cosmetic shape, with just a bit of wear to the silver trim, and overall minor scratches, use and wear marks. The shutter, film-advance thumbwheel and flashcube ejector button are all working well. There's no evidence of corrosion in the battery compartment. The 42mm "Impar" lens (Nikon had Nikkors, Imperial had Impars) is undamaged and clear. The back release works properly, and the camera interior is clean. There are some scratches on the front surface of the viewfinder and on the rear film-view window, but both are clear and usable. Some corrosion on the metal ferrule and clip of the wrist strap.

We would expect this camera to work just fine as a picture taker, provided one could source some 126 film. (If you're really determined, there are online instructions for reloading empty 126 cartridges with standard 35mm film.) But we see this Insta-Cube as an iconic example of atomic retro-tech style, ideal as a decorative statement piece.

Rounded to the nearest measurement.

3 1/4" H
4 3/4" W
2 3/8" D
Brand/Maker: Imperial

Cosmetic condition: Good. Overall scratches and use/wear marks. Some wear to silver trim. Clean and attractive.
Operating condition: Not film tested, but all controls work smoothly and positively, and mechanical functions are working properly: film advance, shutter, flashcube ejector. Lens clear and undamaged; scratches on front viewfinder surface and rear film window, but both are clear and usable. Interior clean.

Please refer to “Condition Chart” on the Policies page. All items are priced to reflect condition.

Shipping notes: We do our best to guesstimate shipping costs accurately. If the shipping cost paid is $2 (or more) greater than the actual shipping charges, we will happily refund the difference. Shipping rates specified are for U.S. domestic shipping only. We're happy to ship internationally; please convo for a shipping quote.

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1960s Imperial Insta-Cube Camera // 60s Atomic 126 Camera


  • Vintage item from the 1960s
  • Materials: plastic, glass, metal
  • Only ships to United States from New Jersey, United States.
  • Feedback: 111 reviews
  • Favorited by: 6 people