I had been learning about Sears Roebuck & Co.'s Tower line of cameras from the late 40's, 50's through the early 60's and saw one like this on the Flickr site and fell in love. Officially it's a "Tower 18" or model #18, made by Olympus Camera, it is the second version of their 35-S (the Olympus version is a 35-SII) with the center window. It was manufactured in 1957 and has an E. Zuiko (5 element) 4.8cm (48mm) 1:2.8 lens, shutter speeds from B-1-1/500 sec.

There's also a parallax correction frame (in the center window) and sports the first levered rewind knob on a Japanese camera. It has a cool spring loaded button you pull back and the lever pops out. It has a wonderful LV (EV) dial on the back with corrections for the time of year and is easy to set the EV on the lens using your desired combination of shutter speed and/or aperture preference.

The lens has another cool feature unlike any other since, a color changing dot that tells you if the shutter is charged or not. Red for cocked, White for dead. The top of the camera sports the Tower badge as well as the original Olympus graphics and logo. I've been an Olympus fan for years and this camera lives up to their above average reputation.


I removed the top plate and cleaned the rangefinder optics and cleaned the leatherette with Meguiar's Leather Foam. The infinity is spot-on. There are no light seals, per say, to be replaced, there is a single felt strip at the hinge and one at the clasp but both seem fine.

Here's a photo from this camera


Tower 18 Owners Manual

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