Hensoldt

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Photo industry in Wetzlar
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Hensoldt (Dr Hans Hensoldt) was a company in Wetzlar, Germany (better known as the home of Leitz). Hans Hensoldt was a grandson of Moritz Hensoldt, who founded the larger Hensoldt & Sohne company in the 19th century. That company made telescopes, binoculars, rifle-sights etc., and was bought by Zeiss in 1928. Zeiss continued to use the Hensoldt name for such products until 2007. Hans Hensoldt's company also made some such products.[1]

Hensoldt sold some cameras made by in Milan by Industria Scientifica Ottica (ISO also sold the same models under its own name). Hensoldt also made some of its own cameras, and made lenses for the ISO models.[2] Hensoldt cameras include the rare Publica 35 mm coupled rangefinder; an article about this camera, a Leica copy, on the Novacon website states that production of it was stopped after Leitz objected to it, and suggests that this was why Hensoldt collaborated with ISO, to make less close Leica copies outside Germany.[3] Hensoldt-branded ISO cameras include the Henso Reporter and Henso Standard.


Notes

  1. This discussion on a telescope and binocular-collectors' forum, mentions binoculars made by Hensoldt AG and by Hans Hensoldt's company. A contributor to the discussion, Peter Abrahams, wrote I heard from a knowledgeable friend about H. Hensoldt: Hans was the grandson of Moritz Hensoldt, the founder of Hensoldt & Sons, Wetzlar. Hans was a member of the board in 1928, when Hensoldt sold a majority interest of the firm to Zeiss. He was active in the political establishment in Germany during the 1930s and the war. After the war, he maintained his affiliation, and his strong opinions were an embarrassment to Zeiss. They managed to remove him from the board, after which he set up his own company in Wetzlar, manufacturing Hans Hensoldt binoculars; and selling the Reporter camera, which was reported to be manufactured in Italy. There were quite a number of binocular models, but most resembled the former Hensoldt models. There were many legal actions as a result of his business procedures and use of the name. Hans died in the early 1960's and the company continued until circa 1990.
  2. Hensoldt's lenses for the ISO rangefinders include the 50 mm f/1.9 Arion, whose name may reflect Hensoldt's 'embarrassing opinions'.
  3. Article about the Hensoldt Publica and ISO Reporter at Novacon.