Univex Mercury II (Model CX)
Postwar reincarnation of the Mercury I (c1945).
Universal Camera Corp. suspended their normal camera-making operations during World War II in order to manufacture binoculars for the armed forces. By the time the war ended and Universal resumed camera production, they had decided to revamp the popular Mercury in order to allow it to accept standard 35mm film rolls (as opposed to the special Univex #200 film required for the Mercury I). This required new dies, resulting in the Mercury II being about a quarter-inch longer and taller than the Mercury I.
Aside from the addition of the rewind knob and other obvious physical differences between the Mercury I & II, there were two cosmetic differences which would become somewhat problematic. The Mercury II was made from a different alloy which quickly lost its luster, making clean examples hard to find today. Also, the Mercury II was covered with a synthetic material instead of the leather found on the Mercury I. This may have necessitated the use of a different adhesive, as most examples of the Mercury II have what looks to be glue that has oozed out at the edges of the covering. Despite these issues, the Mercury II was a popular camera in its time, and popular among collectors today.