Nikon Digital Cameras- History-Best Online Offers
Nikon Digital Cameras-History-Where To Get The Best Deals
By Sam Ammouri
Nikon Cameras, Nippon Kogaku, K.K. (Japan Optical Co), was formed on July 25, 1917, by the merger of three small optical firms, one of which dated back to around 1880. They began with about 200 employees including eight German technicians who were invited in July of 1919 but arrived in January of 1921.
This was actually an optical firm and not a camera manufacturer, therefore, their beginnings parallel those of Leitz and Zeiss, who also began as optical manufacturers.
The firm began to produce a vast array of optical products such as microscopes, telescopes, transits, surveying equipment and optical measuring devices for industry and science.
And because of the types of products they made they became well known in the scientific and industrial communities but not to the general consumer.
By the 1930’s they were producing a series of photographic lenses from 50mm to 700mm, mostly for plate back cameras, and the word ‘Nikkor’ was first used, having derived it from ‘Nikko’ which was used on their early invented microscopes.
By August of 1937 they had completed the design of 50mm f4.5, 3.5 and 2.0 Nikkors which came as original equipment on the famous Hansa Canon of the same year. Nippon Kogaku actually produced all of Canon’s lenses up to mid-1947.
So all prewar and early postwar Canons came with Nikkor lenses. Of course the first were in Canon’s own bayonet mount, but later ones were equipped with the Leica thread mount.
And by the late 1930’s Nippon Kogaku was producing lenses for miniature cameras, but had yet to produce a camera of its own. With the arrival of World War II they were chosen by the government to be the largest supplier of optical ordnance for the Japanese military and grew to nineteen factories and 25,000 employees.
By the end of World War II they were reorganized under the occupation for civilian production only and were reduced to just one factory and approximately 1500 employees, And they immediately began to produce many of the fine optical products from before the war, for which they were justly famous in Japan. However, at this point, they were virtually unknown to the outside world.
In late 1945 and early 1946, it was decided that they should produce a camera of their own and research began on both a 6×6 TLR and a 35mm., interchangeable lens, coupled rangefinder camera.
The TLR project was dropped and design of the ’35’ continued. On April 15, 1946, a production order for twenty miniature cameras, to be used in experiments, was issued. Their camera went through many name changes during this gestation period, but in September of 1946 the design of the camera was completed and the name ‘NIKON’ merged. A lens project was also going on at this time, but the actual production of the camera did not begin until 1948, The time Nikon was really born.
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