FAIL (the browser should render some flash content, not this).
History/ The Roots/ The ICA AG - The big two/

The ICA AG - The big two

Brand of the ICA AG

The economic downturn, that shook Germany in 1907 forced the three big camera manufacturers Hüttig, Wünsche and Ernemann to start talks about a possible union. Although most of the German cameras were produced in Dresden, Dr. Rudolf Krügener of Frankfurt/ Main, became a real economic thread.

On 7th October 1909, the new corporation was formed by the name ICA AG (Internationale Camerafabriken Aktiengesellschaft) and consisted of:

  • the Hüttig AG
  • the Wünsche AG
  • the Dr. Krügener AG
  • the Palmos-Camerabau as part of the Zeiss-Werke

Heinrich Ernemann refused to participate since he would be excluded from all administrative positions because of his majority shareholder status. The Hüttig AG became the headquarter of the new ICA AG.

The rationalization of the former independent camera factories resulted in a hughe lay-off where 200 of 800 employees of the Hüttig AG lost their jobs. The Wünsche AG was hit even harder: the old headquarter was liquidated. Only a few clerks and specialists moved into the ICA AG headquarter.

Ica Icarette II 500/1 - 1915 Source: Wessels

Manufacturing lenses, the Zeiss-Werke were the major supplier of lenses for the Dresden photo industry. To start an own camera business, Zeiss looked for a partner which already operated in the field. In 1900, the new Camerawerk Aktiengesellschaft Palmos was founded in Görlitz and already one year later, the corporation presented its new roll-film camera with focal-plane shutter - a novelty. In 1909, Palmos became part of the ICA AG.

The world-war I shifted the structure in the factories. More and more women took over jobs from men that had been drafted for military duty. Although the export had been blocked by the allies, the ICA AG still grew and reached its peak with 2,200 employees in 1920.

The products of the ICA AG focused on various camera products. Among models of the former independent manufacturers were SLRs and professional equipment. But the ICA AG also developed new products and started to produce motion-picture projectors. The production of diascopes and epidiascopes were a profitable unit of the corporation.