Hubert Nerwin

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Hubert Nerwin was the chief designer at Zeiss Ikon during the late 1930s. He designed the Contax II and Contax III models, the Contaflex twin lens reflex, the Tenax II and the Ikoflex cameras, among others.

After the war he was instrumental in restarting the Zeiss Ikon West Germany side of the company (Stuttgart) with 3 wonderful folding cameras: Ikonta 35, later named Contina, Contina II, which had an uncoupled rangefinder built in, and Contessa 35 with coupled rangefinder and uncoupled selenium lightmeter. These cameras were designed to be symmetrical, i.e. the lens was centered on the camera, wind and rewind knobs are under the camera and the are no controls on the top of the camera. The designs were popular in the 1950s and helped rebuild the Zeiss Ikon brand. Nerwin also contributed a new design for the metal shutter for the post war Contax cameras but left Germany before the camera was launched.

In 1948, he relocated to the USA as part of operation Paperclip, and worked for Graflex in Rochester NY. He worked in an assignment by the US War Department named Army Still Picture Camera, which resulted in the Combat Graphic camera, a rangefinder using 70mm film and looking like an overgrown Contax II. He then moved to Kodak in 1955 until his retirement in 1971, where he worked in the innovation department.

He invented the modern popular 35mm cassette film type 126 (Kodapak) which became the third big step in popularizing photography, with the introduction of the Instamatic line of cameras, after the one-dollar box cameras around the year 1900 and the popular 120 film and 620 film box and plastic cameras of later years. He was awarded over 200 US patents in his time in Graflex and Kodak.