|Honeywell Heiland Pentax H1|
image by Voxphoto (Image rights)
Honeywell International, Inc. is a large, diversified corporation based in the United States, which still exists. Beginning in the late 1950s, the Honeywell brand was used for a variety of photographic products, typically imported from other manufacturers.
Beginning with heating controls and later moving into countless other industries (including computers), Honeywell's connection to photography began through its 1954 acquisition of Heiland Research Corp. of Denver, Colorado. Heiland manufactured bulb flash units, flash synchronizers, and electronic flashes (given the brand Strobonar). This became the division of Honeywell responsible for photo products.
Starting about 1959, The Heiland division began importing Pentax SLR cameras from the Japanese firm then still known as Asahi Optical Company. The initial imports were engraved with Heiland Pentax on the front nameplate, but with the Honeywell name and H logo appearing on the the top of the pentaprism. Soon the cameras were engraved Honeywell Pentax on the nameplate and the Heiland brand disappeared. After 1977 Pentax established its own distribution in the USA.
Through the 1960s Honeywell imported other photographic products, including movie cameras, 110 film pocket cameras, and some 35mm compacts. Flash products continued in the product line too.
Researchers at Honeywell created one of the first successful autofocus systems in the mid 1970s, called the Visitronic system, on which they obtained four patents. They did not commercialize this technology in their own cameras, however it was used in the pioneering Konica C35 AF of 1977, and the Rolleimat AF of 1980.
In 1987 Honeywell brought suit against several Japanese camera-makers for infringing on its autofocus patents. A 1991 court decision found Minolta guilty, owing Honeywell USD $96.3 million in unpaid royalties. Ultimately Minolta paid Honeywell USD $127.5 million in back royalties, and for license rights to continue using autofocus technology. Collectively, the world's camera manufacturers paid Honeywell in excess of USD $300 million for licenses to their autofocus patents.
|Honeywell Pentax H3V|
image by Mike Novak (Image rights)
- For Honeywell Pentax models see Pentax (original)
- Heiland Premiere (a Dacora Dignette)
- Electric Eye and Electric Eye 35R
- Visimatic 615
- Honeywell Elmo movie cameras
- Honeywell history from Honeywell Retiree Club of Arizona
- Per Ricoh Imaging: Pentax Timeline at the Ricoh US website.
- "Coming: New Cameras That Focus For You" Popular Mechanics magazine, May 1976; from Google Books
- "Minolta Told It Must Pay Honeywell" February 8th, 1992 New York Times
- Intellectual-property litigation history at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Cerisi, LLP. Michael V. Ciresi was the lead counsel in the Honeywell suit.
- "COMPANY NEWS; Honeywell Patent Suit Is Settled August 22, 1992 New York Times