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Elmo is a Japanese company most widely known for its amateur movie equipment, and still in existence producing CCD cameras, projectors and presentation devices.


The company was founded in 1921 as Sakaki Shōkai (榊商会).[1] It released its first 16mm projector (model A) in 1927; this was the first such device manufactured in Japan.[1]

The company became G.K. Elmo-sha (㈾エルモ社, "Elmo & Co.") in 1933. The name is the abbreviation for "Electricity Light Machine Organization".[2] The first 8mm projector (model Hayabusa) was released in 1936,[1] and the Elmoflex series of 6×6 TLR cameras was introduced in the early 1940s.[3]

The production of the Elmoflex restarted immediately after the war. In January 1946, the Elmo company was one of the 17 founding members of the Optical and Precision Instruments Manufacturers' Association (光学精機工業協会, Kōgaku Seiki Kōgyō Kyōkai).[4] The company was incorporated as K.K. Elmo-sha (㈱エルモ社, "Elmo Co., Ltd.") in 1949. It continued making the Elmoflex until the second half of the 1950s, then dropped the production of still cameras. It went on making cine cameras and cine and slide projectors, for example the Elmo 312-XL Super8 movie camera. It began making CCD cameras in 1984,[1] and continues up to this day (2009).

Elmo factory in 1953

The page on the Elmoflex contains a series of pictures taken in 1953 at the Elmo factory, showing the manufacturing process of the Elmoflex camera. These originally appeared in the May and June 1953 issues of Shashin Kōgyō (the name of the photographer is not specified).



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Elmo official chronology in Japanese, and in English (pdf format).
  2. Name meaning in the official website.
  3. The official chronology (archived) says 1938, but the earliest advertisement found, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.60, is dated October 1942 and mentions the camera as a new model.
  4. Lewis, p.60.


  • Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7.
  • Kaneko Jutarō (金子寿太郎). "Erumo kamera no shinten" (エルモカメラの伸展, Expansion of Elmo cameras). In Shashin Kōgyō no.100, August 1960. P.23.
  • Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard).


In English:

In Japanese: