Imperial  –  Vintage Camera Brand

Imperial Brand Overview

Imperial logo

Founded: 1945 — Chicago, IL, USA
Currently: defunct

Imperial Brand History

The Imperial Camera Corporation was a Chicago-based American company founded as the Herbert George Co. in 1945 by Herbert Weil and George Israel. The company is probably best known for its production of inexpensive plastic box cameras for sale under its own brands as well as on behalf of other companies and organizations including the Walt Disney Company, the Roy Rogers Show, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Girl Scouts of the USA.

After its establishment at the end of World War II, the Herbert George Co. manufactured its first camera: the Donald Duck, an officially licensed Disney product featuring the likeness of Donald Duck with his nephews Huey, Louie, and Dewey on the back. The company also produced a non-Disney version of the Donald Duck camera, choosing instead to create its own in-house brand to sell it under: Herco. The Herbert George Co. used the Herco name for a number of different box and pseudo-TLR cameras until the mid 1950s when they began releasing cameras under the Imperial brand as well. The company was sold to new owners in 1961 who changed its name to the Imperial Camera Corporation before shuttering it for good.

Interested in starting or growing your own collection of Imperial 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, WI, USA: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), p 270-273, 301.

Vintage Camera Lab