Ferrania Vintage Camera Brand
Ferrania Brand Overview
|Founded:||1923 — Ferrania, Kingdom of Italy|
|(modern day Italy)|
|Currently:||Ferrania Technologies S.p.A.|
|FILM Ferrania s.r.l.|
Ferrania Brand History
Ferrania is an Italian brand founded in 1923 after the explosives manufacturer Società Italiana Prodotti Esplodenti (Italian Society of Explosive Products) established a new plant in the village of Ferrania. Under the patronage of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia during the Great War, Società Italiana Prodotti Esplodenti, better known as SIPE, produced huge amounts of nitrocellulose-based explosives. However, after Nicholas II was removed from power in 1917, SIPE was left with a massive surplus of chemicals which they discovered could also be used in the production of photographic films. SIPE spun off a new company called FILM (Fabbrica Italiana Lamine Milano or Italian Lamination Factory, Milan) to occupy the new factory and make use of the existing chemicals.
In 1932, the company absorbed a photographic equipment manufacturer from nearby Milan called Cappelli and began producing cameras as well as film under the Ferrania name. After World War II, the company had great success marketing their film to filmmakers as well as still photographers.
Their achievements caught the attention of the American firm 3M, who became the majority shareholder of Ferrania to the tune of a colossal $55 million (well over $420 million in today’s economy) in 1964, making it 3M’s largest ever acquisition at the time. 3M renamed the company Ferrania-3M and then inexplicably began slowly phasing the name out of existence. The company simply couldn’t compete with the likes of Kodak, Fujifilm, Ilford and Agfa in the US so 3M decided to use Ferrania to manufacture generic 35mm film for sale under different names around the world including Polaroid, Konica, and 3M’s own Scotch brand. In 1995, 3M bundled Ferrania with its spinoff company Imation which quickly sold it off.
In 2006, Ferrania was restructured once again, becoming Ferrania Technologies and refocusing it efforts on the pharmaceutical industry. In 2010, Ferrania abandoned its photographic film operations completely and the factory remained dormant until the business was sold to Italian film industry professionals Nicola Baldini and Marco Pagni in 2012. The company was resurrected as FILM Ferrania and is currently looking to once again supply the world with analog film.
Interested in starting or growing your own collection of Ferrania cameras?
Check eBay to see what’s available.
McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 213-214.
“A Brief History of Ferrania, Part 1: 1882-1963,” FILM Ferrania s.r.l., http://www.filmferrania.it/news/bombs-to-bombshells
“A Brief History of Ferrania, Part 2: 1964-2012,” FILM Ferrania s.r.l., http://www.filmferrania.it/news/2014/the-3m-era
“A Brief History of Ferrania, Part 3: 2012-2014,” FILM Ferrania s.r.l., http://www.filmferrania.it/news/2014/where-are-the-other-85
“About,” FILM Ferrania s.r.l., http://www.filmferrania.it/#about-section
“Home,” Ferrania Technologies S.p.A., http://www.ferraniait.com/index.html
“Ferrania,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrania