1940's Jaeger LeCoultre Compass 35mm Camera on eBay for US$9,730
First released in 1937 at the princely sum of £30 (roughly equivalent to about £1,500), Noel Pemberton’s finely-machined aluminium camera piece known as the Compass was taken up by Swiss watchmaker Jaeger LeCoultre for production.
The genius behind the design of this camera was also the same man who founded the Supermarine company, designs of one of the most iconic WWII fighter planes, the Spitfire.
There also just so happens to be one of these on eBay selling for US$9,730 right now.
With an extra month between June and July named “Sol”, this unique calendar was invented by Moses B. Cotsworth in 1902 and named the “International Fixed Calendar”. Each year was divided into 13 months of 28 days each, with one or two days each year not belonging to any month.
Although it wasn’t officially adopted by any government around the world, George Eastman Kodak became a fan of it and it was Kodak’s official calendar between 1928 and 1989.
The history of the Kardon camera is a story of forgotten American genius. The Kardon camera, manufactured in several variations from 1945-‘54 represents an important American contribution to the then-state-of-the-art “miniature” camera. And it represents Peter Kardon’s patriotic effort to answer to the US military’s need for a high-quality 35mm camera during World War II. The Kardon camera was a technical success, and a financial failure, whose last remnants now, after 60 years, reside in my camera shop.
The story begins during World War II. The US Signal Corps needed a supply of high-quality 35mm cameras. At war with Germany, it was clearly impossible to purchase cameras manufactured there. In 1941, authorized by the Alien Property Custodian Act, the US government seized control of E. Leitz Company in New York and directed them to manufacture Leica IIIa cameras for them, assuming that a facility capable of repairing that camera also could manufacture them. By '43 it was apparent Leitz was not up to the task.
In stepped Peter Kardon, a naturalized US citizen originally from Odessa, Russia. Kardon already had achieved a reasonable degree of business success as president of the Premier Instrument Corporation. According to one photographic historian, the personal risks Kardon took for the creation and manufacture of the Kardon camera were motivated by his desire to assist the nation that took him in as an immigrant in '05 and that enabled him some degree of success for he and his family. In other words, it was his inspired payback for his realization of the American Dream.
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Nikon’s first ever camera produced in 1948 in occupied Japan was just called “the Nikon” while the company was still known as “Nippon Kogaku”?
After the domestic success of “the Nikon”, Nippon Kogaku changed their to Nikon and renamed the camera the Nikon 1.
Did you also know the Nikon 1 is a mix of the best parts of a Leica III and Zeiss Contax II? Unfortunately, the Nikon 1 didn’t take 35mm film and was prevented from being exported by General Macarthur so Nikon reintroduced it as the Nikon M a few months later, accepting standard 35mm film.