James's Camera Collection: Camera Company Thumbnail History Directory

Camera Company Thumbnail Histories

Corporate histories are notoriously difficult to find. Major corporations like Eastman Kodak compile and keep theirs, but they sanitize it. Like politicians, corporations tend to believe that any admission of failure, missteps, or feet of clay are potentially damaging to their public image. Also like politicians, corporations (and the people who run them) tend to have massive egos that need to be fed; and they don't like to acknowledge their debt to others. Truth and accuracy be damned if they disagree. So events are given a positive spin regardless of reality, or simply institutionally overlooked or forgotten. Details are entirely ignored.

For defunct companies, the fate is nearly always oblivion. Records, even for the majors, tend to be destroyed as being useless; defunct companies' documentation are considered less than worthless. This happens both to companies that merge into conglomerates, such as Wollensak as well as to companies that simply disappear, such as Busch Precision Optical. In many cases the corporate officers never felt that anyone would care; others thought it was simply too much trouble to preserve.

I'm indebted to everyone who contributed their knowledge, and makes available either in print or on the internet, what they know about these companies. Certain companies like Graflex inspired quite a following and a fair amount of material has been collected and made public to share. Other companies like Busch and Revere disappear with hardly a ripple.

This is my small effort, particularly with the little guys, to memorialize some of these forgotten firms.

agfa logo
Agfa and Ansco
Argus logo
Canon Logo
Kodak Logo
Eastman Kodak
Graflex Logo
Keystone Logo
Konica Minolta Logo
Mamiya Logo
Miranda Logo
Nikon Logo
Wollensak Logo
Revere & Wollensak
Rollei Logo
Viewmaster Logo
Voigtlander Logo
Voigtlander Logo
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