The Kardon Camera; An American Tale

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.

As a subcontractor to E. Leitz, Kardon eventually produced the first "American Made Leica Camera" as it was called. The contract called for a production run of 6000 American-made Leica IIIa models, utilizing production equipment from E. Leitz. The effort immediately encountered two major obstacles. First, the production equipment provided by E. Leitz was in such poor condition it could neither be used nor serviced. Second, detailed analysis of the IIIa showed that its design didn't allow for mass manufacture. Rather, each piece required hand adjustments from experienced craftspersons. This would not do for mass manufacture or for easy repair in the field. So, Kardon embarked on the task of designing a new camera whose interchangeable parts would meet these requirements.

This improved design capable of mass manufacture is the first significant contribution by Kardon to the photographic world. The effort involved the talent of many Kardon family members (Leonard, Bernard, Nathan, and Frances Kardon, and son-in-law Irving Gross). They collectively succeeded in designing and producing a Leica IIIa-based camera of easier assembly and service than that of Leitz in Germany. The completed camera featured a seasoned and well regarded 47mm f/2 Ektar lens of American design and manufactured by Kodak, set upon a Kardon designed and assembled lens mount. It was an improved Leica of American manufacture.

However, the technical success was not met with business success. Kardon had only recently delivered production samples for the government when his contact was canceled in '45 upon the victory of Allied Forces over Japan. It was financial disaster for the company, only having recouped 10 percent of its total investment.

ARTICLE CONTENTS
Share | |
COMMENTS
stephhance001's picture

Early photographic cameras were usually in the form of a pair of nested boxes, the end of one carrying the lens and the end of the other carrying a removable ground glass focusing screen. By sliding them closer together or farther apart, objects at various distances could be brought to the sharpest focus as desired. -Steven C. Wyer

tom1122's picture

I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people.
jaket online

quora30's picture

I'm quite glad to have seen this blog, thank you so much for all the great information on cameras and wonderful pictures, I'll be sure to pass the url on to my more artistic family and friends
Margahayuland | Margahayuland | Yurosie | ide bagus

quora30's picture

He he! This is funny! I would love to have an essay describing yourself with these guys. I guess it will never be boring at classes. I wonder how a rap song about the extinction of dinosaurs would be. Cari Uang Lewat Ekiosku.com, Cipto Junaedy.BOLA368.com Agen Judi Bola Terpercaya Promo 10% all Games Sportbook

alex12's picture

You ropes eradicate it intrinsic unproblematic for sum the kindreds external there.
labeling machine

tom1122's picture

I think that thanks for the valuabe information and insights you have so provided here.
jaket online

egenie_257's picture

I enjoyed this post after providing my PHP development services to a client and i am already feeling refreshed. Thanks again.

Kennedy's picture

Good details! I have already been looking for details this way for a while right now. Many thanks! http://www.top10essays.com

annajohnson7474's picture

Nice article. It seems you have gone to a high extend in researching the history of the Cameras. Your style of writing, The Facts and obviously the way of presentation made this post awesome. Congratzz dude. check this site

sanoj's picture

We at classicinformatics, are the provider of Offshore Web Development, Outsource PHP Development, iPhone Apps Programming, Android Apps Development, facebook Apps Development, blackberry Apps Development in India. Please visit at classicinformatics.com for offshore outsourcing solutions.
Offshore Web Development Company

shahalam's picture

This Kardon camera was great after wolr war II. it is rare information . Best Mac Apps

sultan's picture

I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work! Choose your Going out Dress with Funk and Style

crazymeme's picture

This is a great post! Photography is one of my hobbies and I recently bought a nice camera that works on Duracell Alkaline Batteries.I am very satisfied of it and I already took some great photos.

barbiegames's picture
Kamal Arya's picture

You have a very inspiring way of exploring and sharing your thoughts. It is very uncommon nowadays, lots of sites and blogs having copy pasted or rewritten info. But here, no doubt, info is original and very well structured. Keep it up. !!click here

sultan's picture

This huge park is easy to ignore on the southern side of SW Twenty-first between SW Randolph and SW Oakley. exposed acne treatment

ereere's picture

Good information! I have been looking for information like this for a while now. Thanks!
kitchen design

zacsifac's picture

Manufacturing tools to give birth to art pieces is an amazing thing to do, I keep thinking how much know how do these people have to acquire in order for them to be able to create geophysical instruments or similar devices that offer the people the sense of progress.

mireille's picture

I know of this recent habit, you may know more about it because you write articles in this professional field. Are there any funeral homes and this kind of service providers to ensure some photo services? I mean, I have been working with the Quincy funeral home but never heard of such particular field. Maybe it does not even exist.

ereere's picture

I have to say that the information here was the most complete that I found anywhere.
supplements

raghavhimanshu50's picture

I would say that this is a a great post of a great person,i'm pleased to see this. Health Management London

umar khan's picture

The tips shared here are very basic yet they are working all the time and one must not ignore that these are the things that are going to produce result over a period. Thanks for sharing. writing help

ereere's picture

Blog gave us useful information to work. You have done an amazing job!hs story hack

ereere's picture

Wow. This blog is truly a gold mine. I have been wallowing on this for quite sometime and here I am reading about it!gettingcarinsuranceinsanfracisco.tumblr.com/

umar khan's picture

The printing as Coach Factory Outlet storewell as content quality of the bumper sticker Coach Purses will be the Coach Outlet Online driving factor in succeeding your business. side effects

umar khan's picture

This was really something very special and interesting. Hopefully I can really learn so much from this valuable information. Thanks Orange Beach Al windward pointe

umar khan's picture

Your post is one of the better that I have read. orange beach condos

umar khan's picture

Keep sharing such excellent post like this in future too. Informative and good article. I like it very much. Have very interesting content to read out. Thanks. Fcebook Login

ereere's picture

It's never too lately to meliorate your information and your listing has me.
click here

robert1122's picture

Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences.
Blood Group Gang Advice

Pages

X
Enter your Shutterbug username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading