Machined or Dull? The Vintage Graflex beertab rivet variant discussion


Well-Known Member
I am starting this Thread to discuss the beer tab rivet variations in VINTAGE Graflex Variants (Folmer and Inc.), as previously discussed in Nate's thread: The Ultimate Luke ANH Graflex Research & Discussion Thread. Please feel free to post any photos of the beer tab rivet on any of your vintage Graflexes so that we can more accurately portray the statistics. In case you are unaware of the discussion, here it is to summarize:

It is trying to be determined, the possibility that True "Folmer" era Graflexes could also potentially possess the shiny machined beer tab rivet, (most notably observed on Inc. Graflexes) or just the dull matte rivet style widely more associated with Folmer variants. And for that matter vice versa. How many Graflexes have been observed with stepped pins, an Inc eye, and a dull beer tab rivet. I would ask your honesty as to not switch parts around before you post any photos, and to simply take your photos as your flash arrived to you.

Hopefully we can compile some photos, and have good discussions on this matter,

Thanks! :D
Last edited:

Drew Baker

Sr Member
I'm surprised I missed you starting this thread!

However, I'm going to approach the topic from the side. I got a bunch of vintage flashes together and looked at the other non-replaceable addition to the top: the sliding side switch. Looking closely at the rivet, the Inc-era rivets seemed to almost all be more cleanly struck with a round dome, and to end flush with the ring below it. The rivets on the older tops nearly all stood proud of that ring, and have flat spots or other deformation of the dome. Not the easiest thing to catch in photos, but I gave it a go:

side switches 1.jpg

side switches 2.jpg

Does anyone else see that pattern in their flashes?


Sr Member
I don't see that on mine. They all look identical except for the different amount of dings they have. I'm talking about the dome top of the rivet only.
The base plates are also identical. However, on the 2-stepped part of the switch I noticed the difference that if the beer tab rivet is shiny then this part is also shiny (I hard to tell from the pictures, but the N picture above seem to match my "Inc" switches. The tops with the dull beer tab rivet also have the switch 2-stepped part less shiny always (but not as dull as the switch base plate.

I've also missed this thread until now, but I'll try to post some comparison of the beer tab rivets - I've identified 4-5 variations so far, although some of the differences are quite minimal.


Sr Member
Ok, actually one of my flashes with long pins and shiny beertab rivets is exception from that. Not sure if I managed to capture it

but on the left is one classic Inc and the whole rivet of the switch is shining just like the beertab rivet, while on the right the switch steps are dull/grayish.


Master Member
OK, Here’s my early Folmer Graflex (deduced by the single thin knurled band on the red button part). All parts are original to the flash.

Like most Folmers that we have seen, the body of the flash is a brighter chrome than that of some of the slightly “brushed / duller” appearance of later flashes. This is difficult to discern in photography but very evident when viewed by the naked eye, in-person, as the effect is subtle and not dramatic.

The “slider switch” rivet is a bright chrome but the “beer tab” rivet has a more “flat” appearance with minimal sheen.

I hope that helps.

Last edited:

Drew Baker

Sr Member
Here are the rivets from the above flashes. First are Inc with machined rivets, then non-machined rivets, then Folmers with machined rivets:

rivets 1.jpg

Here are more photos of flash M, my Folmer New York. I've knocked back some of the patina and replaced the ears with a less rusty set of the same single concave rivet Folmer ears it came with. Other than that, this is how I got it:



Sr Member
So staring with my earliest-looking Folmer no patent - it is the only one I have with such a heavy chroming, including the front screw and the bunny ears:

I see the dull rivet has a distinctive dot in the middle and a big chromed washer below the beer tab.

All my other flashes have dull-er front screw like this:

and the few other that have that distinctive dot are also with the same big chromed washer:

Next, there are some with dull rivets, but without that dot in the center and usually with a couple of harder to notice rings (that I could not catch very well in my pictures). Some of those are with the same big chromed washer, others are with a smaller (usually) and yellowish washer

Last, the shiny ones - some are machined evenly, some have a small circle in the middle, all are having a yellowish washer (also little smaller than the chromed ones on usually)

Edit: Found some leftovers from ESB conversions - here's how the 2 types of washers look when removed:


The yellow one is also a lock washer type (cut on one side)
Last edited:


Sr Member
And although I don't have any that is like this, I've seen several examples posted that are with the shiny rivet and a chromed washer like the one Ninja shared in the ANH hero thread:


Sr Member
For the bunny ears it turns out I have 3 variations:

top picture - always the rivet is shiny.
middle picture - of the 4 that are like this - 3 are dull 1 is shiny.
bottom picture - always dull rivet.

So for me as far as non-removable pats are concerned, a "pure" Inc. top have all of these features:

and "pure" Folmer top - these:


But there are plenty of flashes that have some sort of mix of these features and I personally would not declare them "Inc" or "Folmer" just based on the beertab rivet.


So for me as far as non-removable pats are concerned, a "pure" Inc. top have all of these features:
View attachment 1429857

and "pure" Folmer top - these:

View attachment 1429858

But there are plenty of flashes that have some sort of mix of these features and I personally would not declare them "Inc" or "Folmer" just based on the beertab rivet.

Thanks for this summary with reference photos. So in your expert opinion, which version of each of these four non-removable parts do you see in the ANH Graflex photos seen in THIS THREAD - especially in posts #1 and #8?


Sr Member
Well I don't really consider myself an expert or anything, but what I see is : bunny ears with the big rivet-like dot, shiny beertab rivet and straight pins. I don't believe any previous owner or the prop crew would mess with the pins, so for the original prop I consider them "non-removable" parts.

So this mix of features I've never seen on a complete flash with "Inc" stamp and I've seen a couple that are stamped Folmer with a patent and then also few posted by others that are stamped with Folmer without patent.

I can't see enough details about the other "non-removable" parts on the ANH prop top, so as far as I'm concerned, they can be anything.

The one that I have is a Folmer with a patent that I used for some of the examples above

And for completeness, here's one of others that I have - it is stamped "Inc" and everything else is classic "Inc" type except for the bunny ears that are the same "middle" type from my previous post, and the beertab rivet is dull.


Well-Known Member
Wouldn't it be better to have all this in the actual Graflex facts thread?
Totally agree! I wasn't sure what conversations were still being debated over on your thread Scott, as I was under the impression it was for the undebatable Known Facts about Graflex variants, or else I probably wouldn't have started this one as it was intended to be more of a Discussion rather than concrete information, though both are necessary. As long as you're okay with all the discussion and photos, we can move it over there!


Sr Member
Yeah, definitely there's overlap on the "Facts" section , but a discussion about what exactly is on the ANH top would be off topic there.
I don't really have much more to contribute to either one though, so I hope more people step in and contribute.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.