LOMO  –  Vintage Camera Brand

LOMO Brand Overview

LOMO logo

Founded: 1914 — Petrograd, Russian Empire
(modern day Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Currently: LOMO PLC

LOMO Brand History

LOMO is a Russian company founded in 1914 in what is now Saint Petersburg, Russia. Despite its proud and storied heritage, LOMO is perhaps best known for inadvertently spawning the Lomography movement which encourages the use of cheap, plastic cameras (oftentimes made by companies other than LOMO) and embracing any technical flaws that may arise.

Originally founded as a Franco-Russian optical factory during the military alliance between the French Third Republic and the Russian Empire, the company spent its early years manufacturing gun sights and other military optics during World War I. In 1919, the company was nationalized by the Russian government and underwent a series of reorganizations until it was finally rechristened as GOMZ in 1932.

GOMZ manufactured consumer-grade cameras for the next three decades until undergoing another restructuring in the ’60s to become the Leningrad Optical Mechanical Association or LOMO. LOMO picked up right where GOMZ left off and continued to manufacture cameras like the popular Smena series. In 1983, LOMO debuted what is now perhaps its most famous camera: the LC-A, the compact 35mm shooter that would eventually spark the Lomography craze after two Austrian students discovered it in 1991.

LOMO went public in 1993 as LOMO PLC and continues to manufacture a wide range of products including telescopes, night vision optics, and a variety of medical, aerospace, and military equipment. While LOMO as since withdrawn from the photography market, it licenses the LOMO name to the Austrian company Lomographische AG (founded by the Lomography guys) for the continued production of the LC-A.

Interested in starting or growing your own collection of LOMO 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 251-254, 439.

“About LOMO,” LOMO PLC, http://www.lomoplc.com/aboutlomoFrames.htm

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

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

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