Spartus  –  Vintage Camera Brand

Spartus Brand Overview

Spartus logo

Founded: c. 1935 — Chicago, USA
Currently: defunct

Spartus Brand History

Spartus was an American camera brand founded during the Great Depression by Chicago jazz drummer and entrepreneur Jack Galter. The company originally produced household products such as clocks, lighters, flashlights, and electric razors but then began to slowly expand into the photography market by the late 1930s as Galter filed for several camera design patents.

Camera production accelerated as Galter purchased the Utility Manufacturing Company and moved it to Chicago from New York in 1941. With the acquisition of Utility, Galter released a myriad of models and sold them under several different brand names including Falcon, which Utility had used before the buyout. This was the beginning of what would commonly be known as “The Chicago Cluster.”

By 1951, Jack Galter had left and started another camera company called Galter Products while Spartus was sold to its sales manager Harold Rubin and rechristened as the Herold Manufacturing Company. While Galter Products went out of business just a few years later, Herold flourished. The company continued to sell cameras under the Spartus name and eventually changed the company name back to Spartus Corporation in 1960.

Spartus ceased camera production sometime after the early 1960s and returned to its roots by shifting its focus back to clocks. It appears that Spartus continued manufacturing clocks until the company was absorbed by the General Time Corporation in 1996.

Interested in starting or growing your own collection of Spartus 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 239-240, 273-275, 618-619, 649-650.

“Jack Galter, 89, Musician, Developer, Philanthropist,” Chicago Tribune,


“Patent Search: Jack Galter,” Google,

“Jack Galter,” Camera Wiki,

Vintage Camera Lab