Graflex  –  Vintage Camera Brand

Graflex Brand Overview

Graflex logo

Founded: 1887 — New York City, NY, USA
   
Currently: defunct

Graflex Brand History

Graflex was an American company founded in 1887 by by William F. Folmer and William E. Schwing as the Folmer & Schwing Manufacturing Company in New York City. Graflex primarily produced and was most famous for its large format press cameras like the Speed Graphic.

The company was originally in the gas lamp business but soon branched off into bicycles and other products as demand faded. in 1896, they began selling photographic products from other manufacturers before finally creating the first Graflex-branded camera in 1902. A few years later in 1905, Eastman Kodak purchased the company, relocated it to their headquarters in Rochester as one of its in-house divisions, and renamed it the Folmer & Schwing Company. Production flourished until 1926 when antitrust laws forced Kodak to sell it off but when no interested buyers emerged, the division spun off into its own company in 1928, calling itself the Folmer Graflex Corporation.

During WWII, Graflex diverted a portion of its production to aid the war effort, making aerial cameras like the K-20 which was used to document the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The company was renamed Graflex, Inc. after the war ended in 1945 and was purchased by the General Precision Equipment Corporation in 1956 where it remained until it was acquired by the Singer Corporation in 1968. Singer officially dissolved Graflex in 1973.

Interested in starting or growing your own collection of Graflex cameras?
Check eBay to see what’s available.

References:

McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 255-260.

“Graflex,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graflex

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