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Hello, I am new to the forum but have been a long time Leica IIIc owner.  By way of introduction, my Uncle was in charge of inventorying all the machine tools and optical equipment for Leica and Leitz optics at the end of WW2.  He was part of the effort at helping certain German companies get back on their feet so they could provide post-war employment for the many who were left without jobs at the end of the war.  As a result of his involvement with Leica, Leitz and other companies, he wound up purchasing an assortment of camera equipment i.e the IIIc, an enlarger, several lenses including a 90mm Thanbar, Mooly winder and other accessories.  I still have the receipts from his equipment purchases and an interesting little notebook with a summary of all the tools and equipment they inventoried in several of the main buildings.  Many years later after my uncles death due to a car accident in 1969 I wound up with all his camera gear.  Of course many years later I sold off most of the gear and of course now regret doing so.  At the time I sold it (1997?) most of the equipment wound up going to Japan.  I think I got $5900 for everything but I kept the IIIc and a collapsable 35mm Elmar lens.  The camera was custom engraved at the factory with my uncles name on the back so I suppose that made it less collectible.  I'm glad I kept the camera and I still have all his paperwork from the factory so it is fun to look at every once in a while.

At some point I'll post pictures of some of the documents from 1945 and a few pics of the little notebook showing everything left in the Leica/Leitz factory back when times were probably pretty tough!

I am looking at doing a "CLA" on the old camera so pointers are very welcome.  Seems like it will be fun to get back into it after all these years...

Gary Schulz

 

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Gary Schulz said:

At some point I'll post pictures of some of the documents from 1945 and a few pics of the little notebook showing everything left in the Leica/Leitz factory back when times were probably pretty tough!

Without knowing exactly what you have at hand, I am fairly sure you will do the Leica historica community a great favour if you scan all the documents and put them in the public domain. It sounds like it could be interesting material for current and future researchers.

If not made public, material like this tends to disappear in time because your heirs most likely will not know what it is or what to do with it. 

Edited by nitroplait
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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Gary Schulz said:

Hello, I am new to the forum but have been a long time Leica IIIc owner.  By way of introduction, my Uncle was in charge of inventorying all the machine tools and optical equipment for Leica and Leitz optics at the end of WW2.  He was part of the effort at helping certain German companies get back on their feet so they could provide post-war employment for the many who were left without jobs at the end of the war.  As a result of his involvement with Leica, Leitz and other companies, he wound up purchasing an assortment of camera equipment i.e the IIIc, an enlarger, several lenses including a 90mm Thanbar, Mooly winder and other accessories.  I still have the receipts from his equipment purchases and an interesting little notebook with a summary of all the tools and equipment they inventoried in several of the main buildings.  Many years later after my uncles death due to a car accident in 1969 I wound up with all his camera gear.  Of course many years later I sold off most of the gear and of course now regret doing so.  At the time I sold it (1997?) most of the equipment wound up going to Japan.  I think I got $5900 for everything but I kept the IIIc and a collapsable 35mm Elmar lens.  The camera was custom engraved at the factory with my uncles name on the back so I suppose that made it less collectible.  I'm glad I kept the camera and I still have all his paperwork from the factory so it is fun to look at every once in a while.

At some point I'll post pictures of some of the documents from 1945 and a few pics of the little notebook showing everything left in the Leica/Leitz factory back when times were probably pretty tough!

I am looking at doing a "CLA" on the old camera so pointers are very welcome.  Seems like it will be fun to get back into it after all these years...

Gary Schulz

 

 

A wonderful story. Your uncle was at Leitz during the very important post war recovery period which would have included the 1949 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Leitz firm, which started a long time before the Leica camera appeared on the market in 1925. They had big celebrations with a band and a ceremonial platform in front of the factory. There was a party for the staff and a Tombola draw with a number of engraved Leicas as prizes - details and photos are in the massive 'Museum Leica' book by Lars Netopil. Enclosed is a photo of the engraving on one of the Leicas taken after it had been 'upgraded' to 'f' status.

Was there anything in your uncle's papers about the 1949 celebration?

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As for the servicing of the IIIc this depends on where you are living. One thing I would have done is the silvering on the mirrors of the rangefinder. A lot of the immediate postwar chrome IIIc items have deteriorated badly and a number of IIIcs which I have examined have poorly functioning or non effective rangefinders.

Thanks once again for your great story about your uncle.

William 

Edited by willeica
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Fascinating story indeed! And like others I am looking forward to read the material you mention. And if you feel like it, also show us the IIIc and the Elmar. It would be interesting to have several of the individual stories about involvement of Americans with Leitz after the war brought together.

Lex

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Posted (edited)

I will try to upload a few pictures of the camera and one other device that I didn't sell all those years ago.  As far as I can tell there is nothing particularly special about this camera other than it was acquired right at the end of the war in 1945 and at some point it suffered some very minor damage at the top of the left rangefinder lens at the front.  There is a colored filter installed on the left side and it is at a slight angle so that is one of the things that need to be addressed during a service.  

 

Edited by Gary Schulz
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Hopefully this works!

 

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Not sure if the scope was related to Leica/Leitz or not.  Perhaps it was the product of another company (Hensoldt?) in the same general neighborhood.  The scope has never been mounted on the dovetail so is basically unused and NOS.

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Yes, Hensoldt is a producer of optical instruments for arms, still producing at Wetzlar, but also worldwide (much, much bigger company than Leica Camera...) The "Duralyt" rifle scope seems to have been quite frequent. 

Your camera may have been produced during wartime or just shortly after the war. You may inquire about the time of the first sale by writing to  archive@leica-camera.com.

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15 hours ago, UliWer said:

Yes, Hensoldt is a producer of optical instruments for arms, still producing at Wetzlar, but also worldwide (much, much bigger company than Leica Camera...) The "Duralyt" rifle scope seems to have been quite frequent. 

Your camera may have been produced during wartime or just shortly after the war. You may inquire about the time of the first sale by writing to  archive@leica-camera.com.

Hensoldt Prototype coming up for auction soon. Details on this link. 

https://www.ostlicht-auction.com/auction/lot/lot-8---hensoldt-wetzlar-iriar-35125mm-prototype/?lot=1744&so=0&st=&sto=0&au=16&ef=&et=&ic=False&sd=0&pp=96&pn=1&g=1

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Reporter Camera here

William 

 

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9 hours ago, willeica said:

Interesting system! The cameras were made and rebadged for Hensoldt by ISO in Milan:

http://collection-appareils.fr/x/html/camera-2340-Iso_Reporter.html

Apparently Hensoldt's earlier efforts had fallen foul of the Leica patents in Germany:

http://www.novacon.com.br/odditycameras/publica.htm

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9 hours ago, Anbaric said:

Interesting system! The cameras were made and rebadged for Hensoldt by ISO in Milan:

The removeable eyepiece - to enable a change of eyepieces corresponding to lenses with different focal lengths - is an intriguing feature.

Philip.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Anbaric said:

 

Apparently Hensoldt's earlier efforts had fallen foul of the Leica patents in Germany:

http://www.novacon.com.br/odditycameras/publica.htm

There is a degree of irony in this as the Allies cancelled or seized Axis patents after WWII and Italy was part of the Axis. The biggest transfer under this set up as regards cameras was from Germany to Japan where Leica copies helped to get the Japanese camera industry started and/or restored after the war. The Japanese camera industry went on to devour the German camera industry, apart from Leica which just about survived several existential interludes. I wonder whether any readers here have actually counted the number of German camera manufacturers that existed at one time or another, but if you look at Collectiblend you will see this list https://collectiblend.com/Cameras/DE/ which contains the names of hundreds of German camera manufacturers. Some of these existed before and after WWII, but, today, only Leica exists with maybe one or two specialist companies (can't think of any names). The history of photography is littered with useless patents and unrestrained abusers of monopoly power (e.g. Kodak and Zeiss) some of whom also eventually failed. In 1839 the French made the Daguerreotype free of patents to the world apart from Britain where Beard picked up a licenses, but Fox Talbot tried to sit on his patents and he too failed with that strategy even though his invention of the negative went on to be a pretty universal concept. There has to a lesson in all of this. The ultimate story has to be the 1946 'Raid by Reid' in Wetzlar where Reid & Sigrist staff, dressed up as 'British Intelligence', went into the Leitz factory and took the plans for the pre-IIIc cameras which led to the Reid cameras which, while they are rare and nice looking, were an absolute commercial disaster which failed very quickly.

Somebody should write a book about the doomed history of patents/copyrights and photography. I would do it myself only there are other things I want to write about.

William 

Edited by willeica
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29 minutes ago, willeica said:

I wonder whether any readers here have actually counted the number of German camera manufacturers that existed at one time or another, but if you look at Collectiblend you will see this list https://collectiblend.com/Cameras/DE/ which contains the names of hundreds of German camera manufacturers. Some of these existed before and after WWII, but, today, only Leica exists with maybe one or two specialist companies (can't think of any names).

I expect you've seen those British Journal of Photography Almanacs that always turn up at camera fairs. The 1939 edition (probably printed in time for Christmas in 1938) is fascinating, especially for the advertising section at the back. This is larger than it would ever be again, a snapshot of the European (and especially German) camera industry at its absolute height. There are many names that would not survive the war and its aftermath, let alone the competition from Japan that followed it.

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