Pinkterton National Detective Agency Leica Camera

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The M2 was introduced in 1957 three years after the M3. The main visible difference is a viewfinder with frames for 35, 50 and 90mm lenses instead of the 50, 90 and 135mm frames used on the M3.
This Leica M2 has been modified to accept two 50mm f/2.8 screwmount Elmar lenses (serial nos. 1670715 and 172176) on a sliding metal plate. The two lenses on this camera have been modified to focus on only one fixed distance.
The M2 two lens camera set-up was designed to photograph the markings on racehorses. The Pinkerton detective agency was asked to investigate the switching of horses in races. A scam had been perpetrated where a poor horse was run several times and then the markings on a good horse were altered to look like the poor horse. Then when the good horse was substituted in a race, bets were placed at long odds in order to win large sums of money.
The Pinkerton modified M2 was designed to take photographs of horse markings at two different distances. One at close distance through the metal opening mounted on the camera and one at a longer distance for a more general view of the horses’ markings. The camera set-up also includes an electronic ring flash around the lens.
Currently not on view
date made
Pinkerton Security and Investigation Services
place made
Deutschland: Hessen, Wetzlar
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 5 in x 12 in x 9 in; 12.7 cm x 30.48 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
serial number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Library of Congress
Horse Racing
Crime Detection
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Leica Cameras
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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