Introduction | A brief history | 60 years | Key Events | Minox is an eye | Seeing with the Minox | Minox Focusing Tips | The Mysterious Door ... | Design Influences of Leica on Minox | Die MINOX ist Mein Leben | Walter Zapp 1905-2003
THE HISTORY OF THE MINOX COMPANY IS THE HISTORY OF THE MAKERS OF THE ULTRA-MINIATURE CAMERAS AND OF THE SMALLEST OF THE COMPACT CAMERAS
|1922||Walter Zapp has his first ideas on a small camera - fitting in a human fist.|
|1936||Walter Zapp, living in Riga, Latvia, develops the ultra-miniature camera, with 8x11 mm frame size.|
|1938||First serial production of the MINOX camera. The body is made of stainless steel.|
|1946||New start for the MINOX camera manufacturing in Wetzlar.|
|1948||The first production of the new generation of MINOX ultra-miniature cameras, later called 'MINOX A". The body is made of aluminium, the lens is improved. The company is owned by the Rinn family.|
|1954||The camera is completed by the X-flash contact.|
|1956||The start of the microfiche reader business. Cooperation with the German railway company and the German post office.|
|1958||The 'MINOX B" is introduced: an extremely small mechanical ultra-miniature camera with built-in and coupled
|1969||Introduction of the "MINOX C": with CdS photo cell and electronic shutter.|
|1972||Introduction of the "MINOX BL": the upgraded version of the MINOX B, now with CdS-exposure meter.|
|1974||Introduction of the first MINOX 35 mm compact camera, using the standard 135 film, "full frame" size (24x36 mm): the "MINOX 35 EL": the first electronic compact camera manufactured in large volumes and opening the world market for this type of camera. The body is made of glass fibre reinforced Makrolon. The exposure is controlled electronically (AE - Automatic Exposure), but the aperture can be controlled manually, and indirectly also the shutter speed and the depth of field. This camera was created for all those who like photography - without compromise quality wise: many advanced amateurs and also well known professional photographers will have their "personal" MINOX 35 in their pocket soon. The MINOX 35 EL and its successors will become the ideal cameras for all those who simply like great pictures with a real "pocket size" camera. The best alternative to and completion of the heavy SLR outfit.|
|1976||Introduction of the "MINOX 110S": the "pocket" camera, using the 110-cassette.|
|1978||Introduction of the MINOX 35 GL.|
|1979||Introduction of the MINOX LX: fastest shutter speed is 1/2000 sec.|
In the eighties: introduction of the highly popular MINOX 35 GT, as well as of some variations (PL, PE, AL). The GT model was the best selling compact camera in Germany for several years.
|1981||Introduction of the "MINOX EC": the modern light-weight version of the ultra miniature camera. Automatic, easy to use.|
|1984||Introduction of the "MINOX 35 ML": the only 35 mm compact camera with dual Automatic Exposure (aperture priority and programmed AE). Another new feature familiar to SLR- users: the exposure memo lock. Later the "MINOX 35 MB" and the "MINOX TOURING", limited edition of 3,333 units both with similar design and features, was marketed.|
|1988||50th Anniversary of the MINOX ULTRA-MINIATURE CAMERA: 999 units of the gold plated LX are manufactured and sold within very short time.|
|1988||Change of ownership of the company.|
|1988||Introduction of the "MINOX 35 GT-E": the evergreen GT was redesigned by the famous designer team frogdesign. Introduction of the "MINOX 35 AF'. The French astronaut J.-L Chretien shoots numerous pictures while staying aboard of the MIR-space station in November (published on 18 pages in full colour in PARIS MATCH of 26 January 1989).|
|1989||Financial and structural reorganisation of the company.|
|1990||Introduction of Walter Zapp's Pocket Telescope: "MINOX T8".|
Early nineties: a number of modifications are made to the camera
the "MINOX LX STERLING", body of solid 925 silver.
the "MINOX T8" with aluminium body, called "T8L".
the "MINOX 35 GSE (the follow-up model of the GT) with quick shot-setting.
the "MINOX 35 GOLDKNOPF" with solid gold release button and data back.
|1992||at Photokina in Cologne: Introduction of the MINOX MDC, the first Minor 35 camera with aluminium
housing, with super-high density coating, MINOX AX ultra-miniature camera (similar to the MINOX A),
fully mechanical, limited edition of 500 units.
|1996||Refinanced by Leica.|
|Minox Management buy out 51% of the company from Leica.|
|1998||60th Anniversary edition Minox CLX in chrome|
|2000||Minox introduce the Minox Classic range of replica one-third scale
classic Leica cameras.
Limited edition LX 2000 Millenium in gold and black
|2001||Aviator Set for Christmas 2001|
|2002||Minox introduce the Minox Classic M3 digital at Photokina
Minox Historical Society Special Edition EC
|2003||First German Minox Club special edition EC in Riga blue|
|2005||100th Anniversary of the birth of Walter Zapp LX in chrome|
More details can be found in a number of articles and books on MINOX resp. on ultra-miniature photography. E.g.
"SMALL MINOX - BIG PICTURES" by Rolf Kasemeier (1963, 1971) (in several languages)
"DIE MINOX 35" by Rolf Kasemeier (1983) (in German)
'MINOX 35" by Rolf Kasemeier (1986) (in German)
"SPY CAMERA - THE MINOX STORY' by Morris Moses (in English)
"MINOX - Variationen in 8x11" by Hubert E. Heckmann (1992, 2nd Edition 2004)
Last Updated on 29th October 2005