In 1887 the Folmer & Schwing Manufacturing Company was founded as a partnership between William Fredrick Folmer and William E. Schwing. Initially the firm manufactured crown gas lighting fixtures and Sterling bicycles. The firm was originally located at 391 Broadway in New york City.
In 1890, the firm was incorporated as the Folmer & Schwing Manufacturing Co. of New York with capital stock $50,000 paid in.
In approximately 1896 the firm began manufacturing cameras to compliment the growing interest in cameras mounted on bicycles. The first cameras introduced were the cycle graphic and graphic cameras.
In 1898 the firm introduced several Graflex cameras, a twin lens camera and studio cameras which launched the firm into a full line of camera manufacturing.
In September of 1898 Folmer & Schwing reportedly constructed the largest camera in the world. The large camera was capable of taking an exposure on a 40 inch by 40 inch square plate, and had a bellows draw of seven feet. It is also noted that the firm was located at 271 canal street, New York.
In 1905 due to the declining markets, George Eastman purchased the company and moved it to Rochester, where it was renamed the Folmer & Schwing Co., Rochester
In 1907, The Folmer & Schwing Co. company officially dissolved, and became the Folmer & Schwing Division of the Eastman Kodak Company.
In 1917, Eastman renamed the division to the Folmer & Schwing Department of the Eastman Kodak Co. The century department and the Folmer & Schwing department made up Kodak's professional apparatus division.
In 1926 Eastman Kodak was issued a court order to sale the Folmer-Century Department. Due to a lack of buyers the Folmer Graflex Corporation was organized to take over the assets of the Division and the company was called the Folmer Graflex Corporation.
In 1936 W.F. Folmer died with over 300 patents issued during his photographic career.
In 1945 Folmer-Graflex Corporation changed its name to simply Graflex, Inc.
In 1951 Graflex purchased the tools to and rights to make the ciro 35 and ciro flex twin lens camera.
In 1956 General Precision Equipment Corp. purchased Graflex Inc and the name was once again changed to became a division.
In July 1957 the plant was moved out to 3750 Monroe Avenue, Pittsford New York.
In 1968 Graflex became a division of Singer Corporation.
In 1973 Graflex Inc. was dissolved.
CLICK HERE for a complete list of Graflex cameras.
1898 American Amateur photographer
1921 The New Photo-Miniature, Volume 16, Issue 1
1974 The Rochester Camera & lens co., R. Kingslake
1993 Focal encyclopedia of photography# 1133
Copyright © 2002 - 2019 Historic Camera