Jacques Bolsey

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Jacques Bolsey

Jacques Bolsey is believed to have been born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1895 and emigrated to France, Switzerland and finally to the United States, changing his last name three times along the way. His original name was Bogopolsky. In Switzerland, he designed a 35mm camera, called the Cinégraphe Bol followed by the Bolex 16mm movie camera in 1927. Several years later the rights were sold to Paillard and he stayed on as a consultant until the mid 1930s. Bogopolsky designed the Bolcarette, a unique viewfinder camera for unperforated 35mm film (probably an experimental prototype for the Swiss company Pignons) in about 1935. In 1938 he designed the Bolca Reflex 35mm SLR. The camera became the Alpa after the rights were sold to Pignons.

Bolsey moved to the United States at the beginning of World War II and worked for the United States government to create a line of cameras for aerial and ground photography. He went on to invent several lines of consumer cameras. Later, he founded a new Bolsey company in 1947 to produce small 35mm fixed lens rangefinders. One of his final inventions was the 8mm Bolsey Uniset. A camera the size of a cigarette pack that could take both motion and still pictures. Jacques Bolsey died suddenly in 1962.


  • Sanford, Richard. Bolsey, the man behind the camera. Home publication, 2003. (No ISBN number.)


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