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← Minox
  
Minox Chain
Measuring chain attachment

Although most Minox cameras some standard with a chain to prevent the camera from getting lost, the chain is a nice little spy gadget in itself. Not only does it allow the camera to be attached to your clothing, it can also be used as a distance measuring device when setting the focusing dial on the camera.

The image on the right shows a typical chain of a Minox B camera. At one end, the chain has some kind of 'key' that is normally latched to the camera. The other end can be attached to the clothing. This can be a leather strap (like in the picture) or a metal clip (see below).

Attaching the chain to the camera is easy. Each metal Minox subminiature camera has a lock that is normally closed with a spring-loaded stub. The key-end of the chain must be pushed into the lock and rotated 90 degrees. See also the rightmost pictures below.
  

When photographing documents, the measuring chain comes in handy. It is 60 cm long and has small markers (bullets) at 20, 24, 30 and 40 cm, just like the markings on the focusing dial. When using the full length of the chain (i.e. 60 cm) the distance is ideal for photographing A4+ size documents.

The chain and the leather case of a Minox B camera Chain attachment Attaching the chain to a button Chain attached to a button Key and lock The key (on the chain) and the lock (inside the camera) Entering the key The chain latched to the camera
The chain and the leather case of a Minox C camera At the end of the measuring chain is a lock to allow the camera to be affixed to the clothing. Close-up of a marker Close-up of three markers Black Minox-B in leather pouch The black Minox-B with black measuring chain unpacked from its leather carrying pouch The clip at one end of the black measuring chain The clip at one end of the black measuring chain
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The chain and the leather case of a Minox B camera
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Chain attachment
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Attaching the chain to a button
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Chain attached to a button
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Key and lock
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The key (on the chain) and the lock (inside the camera)
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Entering the key
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The chain latched to the camera
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The chain and the leather case of a Minox C camera
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At the end of the measuring chain is a lock to allow the camera to be affixed to the clothing.
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Close-up of a marker
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Close-up of three markers
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Black Minox-B in leather pouch
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The black Minox-B with black measuring chain unpacked from its leather carrying pouch
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The clip at one end of the black measuring chain
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The clip at one end of the black measuring chain

Using the chain
A nice example of the fact that the measuring chain was actually used by spies to photograph documents, is given in Keith Melton's excellent book Ultimate Spy [1]. It's the story of American John Walker who became the KGB's most important spy during the 1970s. Walker was a warrant officer in the US navy and had access to important naval secrets and cipher material, such as the key settings of the KW-47 cipher machine (a variant of the KL-7).

On his first visit to the Soviet embassy in Washington in 1968, he was given a Minox C camera to copy secret documents and cipher material. He spied for the Soviets for 17 years, right until his arrest in 1985, after his ex-wife had informed the FBI. After his arrest, Walker demonstrated how he used his Minox C camera with the measuring chain for photographing documents.

References
  1. H. Keith Melton, Ultimate spy.
    ISBN: 0-7513-4791-4, 1996-2002

  2. Wikipedia, John Anthony Walker
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 02 April 2010. Last changed: Tuesday, 13 June 2017 - 07:58 CET.
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