Weston Meter Advertising Archive
Right from the earliest days of the Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation of Newark, New Jersey, advertising has played its part. Early examples seem to be trade journal based. As their offerings expanded into Luminance and then Photographic Exposure Meters, embedded advertising is found from photographic retailers in various photographic and technical magazines, both in the U.S.A. and the U.K.
This small archive contains only facsimiles of pages in my possession. Where possible I have identified the journals from which they were taken and their date. What does emerge is that Weston exposure meters were EXPENSIVE. Prices are included in embedded adverts and they are routinely seventy to eighty percent more expensive than equivalent specification budget meters. In the U.K. at least, instalment payment plans are offered as well as trade-ins as the new models are introduced.
Unlike my collection of meters which I aim to make as comprehensive as possible, I cannot claim the same for the contents of this page. I am dependent on what I can find in vintage issues of available photographic magazines in the U.K. and other odd advertisements that I may pick up from auction sites. There are no doubt myriad other advertisements buried in journals in attics and archives all around the world that will never see the light of day.
Weston Illumination Meter Model 603: USA 1932, Municipal Index.
An American full page advertisement for the Model 603. The new Photronic Selenium photovoltaic cell developed by Weston is promoted heavily in the body text along with the fact that the meter is not dependent on battery or external power for measurement and can be used as a consistent and reliable basis for judging lighting levels in a variety of workplaces and locations. The apperance of this advertisement is concurrent with the introduction of the very first photovoltaic photographic exposure meter: The Weston Photronic Exposure Meter Model 617.
Weston Photronic Exposure Meter Model 650: USA 1938 Christmas, Unknown Publication.
This lovely advertisement depicts a prosperous American middle-class family making their Christmas wish list. Dad has plumped for a Weston Exposure Meter. What I really like about this picture is the ecstatic expression of joy on the child's face. Does she want a doll's house for Christmas? Does she want a pony? No indeed. What she really wants is for her Father to have the exposure meter of his dreams, despite not having a clue what it is supposed to do. And is that a smile of relief on the face of his wife as she notes it down? At least he's not asking for a sports car. America was in the grip of its second depression in 1938 and Roosevelt's second 'New Deal' designed to prevent it, was coming under widespread criticism. This humourous up-beat advert reflects the bullish
approach adopted by commerce to ignite growth in consumer spending. It would however be three years later and the entry of America into the war before full employment would return.
Weston Master Universal Model 715: USA Dec. 1944, Unknown Cine Journal.
This type of advertising, common in both the U.S.A. and Britain during the war, could loosely be termed reinforcement advertising. The Weston companies in both countries would have diverted most of their production capacity to producing military instrumentation. Few, if any, exposure meters would have been available for public purchase in America, and none in Britain. The advert is designed to give reassurance , maintain the visibility of the company in the eyes of the public, and secure demand when production and supply resumes.
'V' day can only be America's reference to what in Britain was referred to as V.E. Day. The allied invasion
of Europe must therefore have been well under way, which fixes the date at December 1944.
Sangamo Weston Master Universal Model S74: UK Dollonds, Amateur Photographer, March 3rd 1948.
This advertisement poses something of a conundrum concerning the known production history of Weston Exposure Meters in Britain. Existing information states that British (Sangamo) Masters were produced only from 1951, having been produced in the U.S.A. from 1939. The model illustrated however is unmistakably that of a Sangamo with its white meter face. But this is in a 1948 British magazine. Either Weston in America were exporting a model designed
for the U.K. immediately post-war, or Sangamo Britain, were manufacturing them ahead of 1951. What is clear from the advertisement is that any units available between the end of the war and 1948 would have been imports and in extremely short supply. At almost £10 they were cripplingly expensive and beyond the reach of an average wage earner. Purchase tax was very high for luxury items such as these, even if home produced.
Weston Master Universal III Exposure Meter Model S141.3 Retailer Advertisements, Amateur Photographer, June 11th 1958 Colour Number.
By 1958 the postwar paper restrictions had been lifted and this Summer Colour feature edition sports 100 pages of photographic retailer advertisements and editorial. Five illustrated embedded advertisements for the Weston Master III feature from Westminster Photographic, Dixons, Turners, Sands Hunter and Fotopost. The price is identical for all five examples. Slightly cheaper than the original Universal ten years previous, it would have been more affordable in a decade of increasing prosperity. The advertisements promote the precision manufacture, use by professionals, ease of use and the introduction of support for the recently introduced
Exposure Value scale. The availability of the Cine version is stated and purchase on an instalment plan is offered alongside a trade-in option against the Master II that it superceedes.
Weston Master Universal IV Exposure Meter Model 745 Dixons & Dollonds, Amateur Photographer, Feb. 28th 1962
1962 and the introduction of the Weston IV which was a major redesign and modernisation compared to the six previous models. Taking the retail price over £10 was a major risk but it
indicates confidence in consumer purchasing strength in prosperous times. Again, instalment payments plans are offered. New features promoted in the advertising include the steel chip-proof rugged casing, the needle lock and suitability for cine as well as still camera use.
Putting Light To Work at the Holland Tunnel, New York: Electrical World, December 1932 USA
An interesting technical advertisement detailing a very early industrial application for the new Photronic cell in conjunction with a projected light beam, relays and alarms. Deployed above vehicles entering the tunnel, it sounded the alarm if the maximum vehicle height was breached.