Certo was a German camera maker based in Johannstadt, a suburb of Dresden, founded in 1902 by engineer Alfred Lippert and Karl Peppel. It made mainly medium-priced folding cameras.
The company started making plate cameras during the first years, and soon they had to rent bigger premises: by 1905, they moved to the suburb of Großzschachwitz, their new address was Pirnaische Straße 11; about the same year they started using the name Certo, too.
In 1917, the company was bought by Emil Zimmermann, who added the Certonet 6x9 rollfilm camera to the product range. Before the Second World War, Zimmermann's son-in-law Fritz von der Gönna led the company. Its flagship product was the Super Dollina.
During the War, von der Gönna hid the machines for the Super Dollina's production in the houses of loyal employees. After the war he started producing cigarette rolling machines, and rebuilt the camera production secretly. When Certo restarted the Super Dollina's production in 1946 all cameras had to be delivered as part of war reparations to the Soviet Union.
From 1950 to von der Gönna's death in 1958 the company was a private company. After this, it became 30% state-owned (being in socialist East Germany).
In the 1960s and '70s Certo produced only cheap and simple viewfinder cameras, some for SL rapid film cartridges, such as the SL 100 and others for 135 film such as the KN 35. In 1972 the remainder of the company was taken into state ownership, and Certo then became part of the VEB Pentacon conglomerate in 1980.
- Damen-Kamera about 1906
- Certoruf, 1924
- Certolob, 1927
- Certokunst, 1929
- Certosport, 1929
- Certotrop, 1927-41
- Bee Bee A (6.5×9) & B (9×12). Export version of the Certotrop, distributed in the U.S. by Burleigh Brooks.
- Certonet (6×9)
- Certix A / B (6×9)
- Certofix (6×9) about 1930.
- Super Sport Dolly (6×6)
- Certo Six (6×6)
- Exa 1c (not branded Certo, but made in the former Certo factory)
SL rapid cartridge
|Dollina||Dollina II||Super Dollina|
|Super Sport Dolly||VP Dolly & Certix||Bee Bee (Certotrop)|
|Catalogue by Certo, for the US importer Burleigh Brooks, c.1938. (Image rights)|
|Camera industry in Dresden|
|Balda | Certo | Eho-Altissa | Ernemann | Feinmess | Heyde | Hüttig | ICA | Ihagee | Kochmann | Kerman | KW | Eugen Loeber | Ludwig | Mentor | Mimosa | Pentacon | Richter | Werner | Wünsche | Zeiss Ikon | Zeh|
|Camera distributors in Dresden|
|Camera industry in Freital|
|Beier | Pouva | Thowe | Welta|
- Certo page at Collection G. Even's site
- Cameras and user manuals at www.collection-appareils.fr by Sylvain Halgand