Friday, December 07, 2012


The KW Patent Etui plate camera.

KW Patent Etui (6.5x9 Model), 12cm /f4.5 Tessar Lens in Compur  Shutter
The Patent Etui was the first product from Kamera Werkstatten and was marketed under the name, Kawee, in the U.S. -- a play on the German pronunciation of the company's KW initials.  The claims for the camera were a bit over-blown in the ads, though it was quite a revolutionary development at the time.

Getting the Patent Etui to the point of making some pictures has been a very nice experience for me.  I wanted this camera for a long time, and was very happy recently to get a good example as well as the Rollex film back for it.  It has also been a nice excuse to look at some of the historical aspects surrounding the plate film cameras.

It seems extraordinary that such a lot of talent and resources in camera manufacturing came back together in Dresden immediately on the heels of a war that was so devastating for Germany.  The concentration of resources encouraged modular designs that promoted quality while maintaining reasonable price points.  All the different plate camera producers made use of similar design features, and key components including shutters, lenses and viewfinders were often supplied as complete assemblies from Zeiss and the other major players in the industry.

1 comment:

Jim said...

It strikes me as uniquely German that such talent and resources concentrated so quickly after the war to do such good work.