Kinshō

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Kinshō Kōki Seisakusho (錦彰光機製作所, meaning Kinshō Optical Works) was a Japanese company based in Kyoto.[1]

Contents

History

Mention in original documents

The existence of the company is confirmed by the April 1943 government inquiry on Japanese camera production.[2] At that time, Kinshō was making the Vero Four F camera, the Rapid-Presto and KP III leaf shutters, and the Verona Anastigmat lens of the Vero Four.[3]

Logos and markings

The company used the initials "K.S." and "K.S.K.", probably standing for Kinshō and KinsKōki respectively. A K.S logo was used on the Vero Four and a K.S. FABRIK marking on the Rapid-Presto shutter. The K.S.K. initials are found on at least one example of the Rapid-Presto.[4]

The markings K.PRONTOR.S. found on the leaf shutter of a Mulix camera was certainly applied by Kinshō, and this shutter is certainly the KP III (perhaps for Kinshō Prontor III).

The "K.S. Nippon" marking reportedly inscribed on the back of a Semi Rosen U perhaps corresponds to Kinshō too.[5] Another example of the Semi Rosen U is known with a shutter only marked K.K.S. (T, B, 1–200);[6] these initials might stand for Kinshō Kōki Seisakusho.

Hypothetical reconstruction

The Kinshō company was certainly already active in the late 1930s. The Vero Four camera, released in 1938, was perhaps not made by Kinshō from the start. Early examples of the camera display n.m.k. initials, corresponding to a possibly different company about which very little is known (see N.M.K.). These initials were replaced by the K.S logo c.1939–40, probably indicating that the production was assumed by Kinshō by the time.

The Kinshō company perhaps also made the Cine Vero 35mm camera in the wartime or early postwar period. The camera has K.S.K. markings on the top housing and on the back, and a Rapid-Presto shutter. However, it has been attributed to "Kyoto Precision Manufacturing" in Sugiyama and McKeown,[7] perhaps an English translation for Kyōto Seiki.

McKeown's book says that "K.S. Fabrik" made the Semi Lucky and the Semi Rosen and was related to Proud.[8] The attribution of the Semi Lucky is a mistake: it is well established that it was made by Fujimoto. The misattribution is certainly explained by the K.S. FABRIK marking on the Presto shutter of an isolated Semi Lucky, pictured in the book.[9] The attribution of the Semi Rosen corresponds to the Semi Rosen U already mentioned above. The relation to Proud is unconfirmed, it is perhaps a confusion induced by the name Rosen, probably owned by Ōsawa Shōkai which also sold the Baby Rosen and Rosen Four made by Proud.

Other occurrences of the K.S. initials

There are other occurrences of a similar name, that are maybe completely unrelated.

"KKS" initials, compatible with the company's full name Kinshō Kōki Seisakusho, are frequently found on products distributed by Kuwata Shōkai, such as the KKS Anastigmat Mulber lenses. A KKS logo appears on the body of the Mulix camera distributed by Kuwata, sometimes equipped with leaf shutters made by Kinshō (see above). However, the April 1943 government inquiry says that this camera was manufactured by Tanaka. The exact same KKS logo as found on the Mulix also appears on the Green, a version of the Gotex by Kigawa. Finally, a different KKS logo is also found on some examples of the Semi Kinka.

An ever ready case for a Semi Prince has been observed with the marking K.S.U. embossed in the back.[10]

The postwar Sumida company that followed the prewar Proud company also used a KSK logo, and made KSK Proud shutters. The meaning of the "KSK" initials is unknown in that context.

List of products

Cameras

Confirmed:

Plausible:

Shutters

Confirmed:

  • Rapid-Presto (T, B, 1–500)[14] or Presto (same but without the RAPID–PRESTO engraving on the rim):
  • KP III:
    • registered on the Mulix (as T, B, 1–200)[17]
    • certainly observed on a Mulix, marked K.PRONTOR.S. (200–1, B, T)[18]

Almost certain:

  • Rapid-Vero (T, B, 1–500) on the Vero Four, certainly a name variant of the Rapid-Presto[19]
  • Presto (T, B, 1–500), same as the Rapid-Presto but without the RAPID–PRESTO engraving on the rim:

Plausible:

  • Pisco (250–1, B, T), very similar to the KP III / K.PRONTOR.S.

Lenses

Confirmed:

Notes

  1. Its address in 1943 was Kyōto-shi Kamigyō-ku Kita-Ōjidōri Horikawa-kado (京都市上京区北大路通堀川角). Source: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), listing the Japanese camera production as of April 1943.
  2. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras").
  3. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 153, shutter items 18-R-4 and 18-P-9, and lens item K4.
  4. Example mounted on a Cine Vero (see there).
  5. Example observed in an online auction. The "K.S. Nippon" marking was reported in the auction's description.
  6. Example observed in an online auction. The top speed is barely legible.
  7. Sugiyama, item 3221, McKeown, p.592.
  8. McKeown, p.572.
  9. Picture in McKeown, p.572. The word FABRIK appears on the picture.
  10. Case observed in an online auction.
  11. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 153.
  12. A K.S. Nippon marking has been reported on the back of an example in an online auction. Sugiyama, items 1243–4, and McKeown, pp.592 and 804, attribute the camera to "K.S. Fabrik" and Proud.
  13. McKeown, p.592, attributes the Cine Vero to Kyoto Precision Mfg. The name "Vero" and the Rapid-Presto shutter might indicate that it was made by Kinshō.
  14. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter item 18-R-4.
  15. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 31–2.
  16. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), items 33–4.
  17. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter item 18-P-9.
  18. See Mulix.
  19. The two shutters have identical features, including a typical 1/300 setting. The "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 153, says that the Vero Four has a Rapid-Presto shutter whereas all the observed cameras have a Rapid-Vero.
  20. Advertisement in Hōdō Shashin January 1942, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.105, mentioning the "Presto" (プレスト) shutter.
  21. Example pictured in McKeown, p.572.
  22. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item K4.

Bibliography

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