other Wirgin cameras in my collection
Wirgin Edinex II 
The West Germany Wirgin Company first produced their distinctive Edinex camera in 1927.
My camera is an Edinex ll dating from about 1951 (although it isn't actually inscribed with a
ll), has an f/2.8 50mm lens and 9-speed Compur shutter (including B). The model was sold under various different names, and with slight variations of lens and shutter, plus some have a hinged back for easy film loading. Some have flash sync setting levers, and others have a self timer too.
The lens is the telescopic
tube variety, which slides into the camera body when not in use, and must be pulled out for the camera to operate (so technically it's a folder). It has two little
handles on the sides of the lens for this purpose, but some model variants lack these and have a non-retractable lens. A slight twist to the left (lens facing away) locks it in the extended position.
The camera has a separately removable back cover and bottom plate. The bottom plate opens via a rotating pull-out lever, where
A is open, and
Z the closed position (maybe A is
aufschlieBen - unlock, and Z is
zu - close?). The back cover is held in place by a sliding knob. To load a film, the cassette has to be inserted from the bottom, and the film leader threaded into the opened back before introduction into the take-up spool. A directional arrow on the wind knob indicates that the film should wrap under the spool (rather than the more modern over).
The shutter has to be manually primed via a cocking lever on the lens, and shutter release is achieved via a separate lever which rests against a cable-release attachment point, and also serves as a stand to keep the camera level when resting on a flat surface.
The film transport mechanism is a little difficult to fathom at first, but it appears to work like this (see the second photo opposite). On either side of the top plate there are two small movable wheels (or dials). The wheel to the left has an arrow that indicates anti-clockwise rotation. On the right dial there are the markings V, with an arrow indicating anti-clockwise rotation, and R with an arrow indicating clockwise rotation.
When the right wheel is set to R, the control to the left locks, and the film roller moves freely in either direction. When the setting is changed to V, the left wheel is unlocked, and the film roller locks. The left hand control can now be turned, which allows the film roller to rotate by the equivalent of one frame, and increments the frame counter. I'm guessing the V is
Vorwarts (forwards), and the R is
Ruckwarts (backwards). Obviously I haven't been able to find a user manual for this camera.
I would guess that the original cost of this camera was roughly the same as that of an Edinex I (£22 - 16s - 11d). In 1951, that would have been about two weeks average UK pay.
Viewfinder: Simple reverse Newton-type telescope finder. No frame lines or parallax markings.
Focus: Manual scale focusing.
Lens: Steinheil Munchen Cassar 50mm f/2.8 VL. 3 elements.
Close Focus: Approximately 3.5'.
Diaphragm: Ten blades, stopping down to f/16.
Shutter: B, 1, 1/2nd, 1/5th, 1/10th, 1/25th, 1/50th, 1/100th and 1/300th. Compur shutter. No self-timer.
Cable Release: Threaded socket on lens shutter barrel.
Filter Size: N/A. The focusing ring pointer would appear to preclude the attachment of a push fit filter.
Flash: Cold shoe with separate PC socket but no adjustment for flash types.
Film Advance: Wind knob preceded by movement of left side control (see text).
Frame Counter: Manually zeroed with automatic count up.
Rewind: Wind knob plus top plate dial set to R.
Back Opening: Bottom plate opens by a folding lever where A=open, and Z=close. Back cover removable by a sliding knob operated latch.
Size: 118 x 54 x 66mm (W x D x H) with lens retracted.
I paid £7.50 for this camera in October 2014.
It's currently the oldest camera in my collection. I was attracted to the Edinex due to its small size, and unique, cute, sci-fi movie styling. Plus - I wanted an example of a tube camera.
It's typical of its era, with a tiny viewfinder, and lacking in the creature comforts of the types of camera I grew up with (like automatic shutter tensioning, double exposure prevention, and self re-setting frame counter, etc). It's a camera purchased for display rather than use. Nevertheless, my Edinex ll appears to be in full working order, although there is a fair bit of dust between the lens elements, and the camera has otherwise required nothing more than a thorough clean.
I've looked at lots of photos of Edinex IIs on the Internet, but have only seen a few that are exactly like mine, especially with the shutter release serving as a little foot. I am under no delusions mine is one-of-a-kind. That's just the way cameras were made in the 1950s; from a changing selection of available parts.