Ever since I acquired this beautiful little camera I assumed it was made in 1920, my reasoning was thus; apparently Ica changed the letter that their serial numbers began with every year until they were acquired by Zeiss-Ikon in 1926. The letter of those 1926 Icas was K. My cameras serial number begins with an E, indicating my camera was built in 1920 (this particular model first appeared in 1912).
The only thing that gave me pause was the shutter. I "think" it's a Compur and its fastest speed is definitely 1/300th. I've been unable to find evidence of 1/300th shutters on Ica cameras in 1920. For all I know shutters of this speed didn't even exist at that point in time. Something is definitely going on here.
Until I have a better theory, I'm conjecturing that the camera is a 1920 unit that has been upgraded with a more recent shutter. I have a 1925 Ica catalog that shows my camera, model No. 495 as being available with the correct lens a Hekla 4 element f/6.8 double anastigmat, but shutters available only to 1/250th. So by my reasoning, the camera was upgraded to this faster shutter after 1925 by Zeiss-Ikon. That's my story and I'm sticking with it for now.
Update: I've just learned from another 1925 Ica catalog, that a camera very similar to mine, the Icarette "B" with rising front and additional plate back was fitted with a Compur 1/300th shutter. At least I now know the shutter existed in 1925. I also realize that all this old camera trivia/history is probably incredibly boring to most people. I do suspect that readers of this blog are not most people though. Eh?
I probably don't need to re-announce what an idiot I am. The Ica is one of the easiest cameras I have to load. The back pops off, you place a spool of film in the well, insert the end of the film in the wooden spool on the left, wind on a bit, close the back up and you're off.
Somehow though, I managed to totally botch that. Apparently, I also left the back somewhat ajar, as you can see by the light leaks. Oh well.
In addition, I was experimenting with different shutter speeds (without taking notes of course) and wound up with only a few usable frames from this roll of Ilford Pan F+ shot at box speed and developed in Cinestill monobath.