Great British Cameras:

Purma Cameras Ltd

Company History

Purma Plus

Purma Special

Purma Speed

Film for Purmas


Purma Cameras were made by Purma Cameras Ltd, which was registered as a Private Company (No 301506) on 4th June 1935 by AC Mayo and Tom Purvis. The name PURMA is derived from the letters of the founders PURvis and MAyo.

The unique and most well known feature of the Purma cameras is that the shutter speed is determined by the way the camera is held. This focal plane shutter mechanism was invented by Alfred Croger Mayo who applied for a patent on 22nd September 1933 (Patent 430,648 "Improved Shutter for Photographic Cameras") which was accepted on 24th June 1935.

Tom Purvis is perhaps better known as a commercial artist who was responsible for many of the great LNER Railway posters of the 1930s, which can be seen in the National Railway Museum at York.

Cameras Purma made were marketed by Hunter (Speed and Special) and by Purma Cameras Ltd themselves (Plus).

I have a great deal more to say about Purma. You can email me with any comments at (delete the D from this address for it to work correctly - the D is included as a crude attempt to stop automatic SPAM!).