Thursday, October 25, 2012
America's greatest camera company
Sure there were a lot of cameras built in the US of A, and some were pretty good, but most were simple snap-shot devices. The cameras built here were iconic and nearly universally used by the press and comercial photographers around the world. From the early 1900's to the mid 1970's they were the cameras that said "I am a serious photographer".
Of course by the time most of us were getting into photography (even us old timers) this brand was on the downward slope and, although effort was made, they were not successful in advancing the technology in a way that retained the market. New offerings from Germany and later Japan left them in the dust.
If you have not guessed by now the company name was Graflex. The Speed Graphic, and its progeny, were THE cameras of their era.
Most people think of Eastman Kodak when they think about photography and Rochester NY, but there were over a dozen camera, film, and optical companies in the city during the early part of the century. Kodak did own Graflex for a few years, but for the most part they were separate entities.
When Graflex moved into this building 50 years ago they surely did not know that their name would be nearly forgotten, yet their building would live on.