Lenco

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Lenco Photo Products, Inc was a distributor of photographic gear in the 1960s and 1970s

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History

Lenco Photo Products, Inc. was a US-based distributor of photographic products, best known for their Lentar branded gear. The earliest reference found to date is a mention in the September, 1947 issue of Popular Photography which calls the company Lenco Photo Sales, based in Detroit, MI.[1] By 1960 most printed references to the company call it Lenco Photo Products and place it in New York, NY. The company later moved its base of operations to an office in Chicago, IL. The company had offices in a number of states including California, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Texas.

At some point prior to 1968 Lenco became a wholly owned subsidiary of GAF. In June of 1968, GAF combined three of it's subsidiaries, Lenco Photo Products, Inc., Gem-Klein Photo Corporation, and H. A. Behm and Co. to create a single photographic product distribution company. The combined company retained the name Lenco Photo Products, Inc.[2]

A 1971 issue of the Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers Journal states that Jamce C. Murphy has been elected a vice president of GAF Corporation, and president of its subsidiary company, Lenco Photo Products, Inc.[3] The Lentar brand names were used at least through the 1980s before being retired.

The Lenco product line includes lenses, extension tubes, exposure meters, enlargers, 8mm movie cameras and projectors, flash and lighting equipment, photographic accessories, and binoculars. Lenco was not a manufacturer. They sold rebranded equipment made by other manufacturers. Many of the Lentar lenses are said to have been made by Tokyo Koki. In addition to selling rebranded products, Lenco was also a distributor of Ricoh products in the United States.

Their Texas branch filed incorporation documents with the State of Texas on 2 May, 1968.[4] The company's main address at time of filing was:

Lenco Photo Products, Inc.
1180 6TH AVE
NEW YORK, NY

The May, 1970 issue of Popular Mechanics includes a product review of the Ricoh Hi-Color 35 camera, distributed by Lenco and provides this company address:[5]

Lenco Photo Products, Inc.
2414 W. Devon
Chicago, IL

The 1977 edition of Marconi's International Register gives this address:[6]

Lenco Photo Products., Inc.
3512 N. Kostner Ave
Chicago, IL 60641 


Lenses

  • Lentar 250mm f/5.6 mirror
  • Lentar 500mm f/8 mirror
  • Lentar 75-230mm f/4.5 zoom auto
  • Lentar 80-200mm f/3.5 zoom auto
  • Lentar 90-230mm f/4.5 zoom preset
  • Lentar 90-230mm f/4.5 zoom auto
  • Super-Lentar 21mm f/3.8 auto
  • Super-Lentar 28mm f/2.8 auto
  • Super-Lentar 35mm f/2.8 auto
  • Tele-Lentar 105mm f/2.8 preset
  • Tele-Lentar 135mm f/2.8 preset
  • Tele-Lentar 135mm f/3.5 preset
  • Tele-Lentar 135mm f/3.5 auto
  • Tele-Lentar 200mm f/3.5 auto
  • Tele-Lentar 200mm f/4.5 preset
  • Tele-Lentar 300mm f/5.5 preset
  • Tele-Lentar 400mm f/6.3 preset
  • Tele-Lentar 450mm /f6.5 preset

References

  1. Popular Photography, September, 1947, p 159
  2. GAF Corp. Combines Three Subsidiaries, Arizona Republic, 9 June, 1968, p 131
  3. Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers Journal, Vol 1970-1971, p 10
  4. State of TX taxable entity search for taxpayer ID: 11326180194 TX Entity search
  5. Popular Mechanics, May, 1970, p 144, Low-Cost Rapid-Fire Camera
  6. Marconi's International Register, 1977 ed, p 442

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