Meguro

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Meguro Kōgaku Kōgyō was a Japanese camera maker. It was founded in 1951 or 1952 to develop the Melcon,[1] a Leica copy with a hinged back, which was released in September 1955 and was its first product.[2] The Melcon's developer, which was surely also the company's founder, was a former employee of Kōgaku Seiki (predecessor of Nicca) and worked with Kumagai Genji on the Nippon Leica copy during the war.[3] (That person was perhaps Yashima Shōhei — 矢島庄平 — member of the Meguro company who wrote an article on the Melcon in an issue of Shashin Kōgyō.)[4] It is plausible that he founded Meguro right after leaving Nicca, but nothing is confirmed yet.

The Meguro company established links with Hinomaruya, which distributed the Melcon, and with Nippon Kōgaku, which provided technical help during its development, controlled the quality of the body and supplied the range of Nikkor lenses in Leica screw mount.[2] Similar ties were linking these two companies to Nicca, which was distributed by Hinomaruya with the same range of Nikkor lenses. It is likely that Meguro's founder continued personal ties dating from its period at Nicca, and that the development of the Melcon was done with Nicca's approval.

In 1957, the Melcon was beginning to look antiquated, and the company launched its successor the Melcon II in autumn. That camera was copied on the Nikon S2, certainly with tacit approval of Nippon Kōgaku, and perhaps using Nikon patents (see the discussion in Melcon II). The camera was made for a short time only, and the last mentions are found in Japanese magazines dating December 1957. The Melcon II was certainly too ambitious a project for that small company, and all trace of Meguro is lost after that date.

Cameras

Notes

  1. Yashima, p.16 of Shashin Kōgyō January 1956. The author says that the company was "founded four years ago": 四年前発足し; the article that was certainly written in late 1955, and that might mean either 1951 or 1952.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Column in Asahi Camera October 1955, pp.156–7.
  3. Shirai, pp.25–6 of Maboroshi no kamera o otte: 熊谷氏の会社の職人だった人々が作ったカメラに、やはりライカそっくりの「タナック」、「チヨタックス」、「メルコン」があるという.
  4. Yashima, pp.16–8 of Shashin Kōgyō January 1956. This magazine frequently contained articles written by top designers of their respective companies.

Bibliography

  • Asahi Camera October 1955. "Shashin-kai nyūsu" (写真界ニュース, Photographic News). Pp.156–7.
  • Shirai Tatsuo (白井達男). "Nippon Kamera" (ニッポンカメラ, Nippon Camera). Pp.17–26 of Maboroshi no kamera o otte (幻のカメラを追って, Pursuing phantom cameras). Gendai Kamera Shinsho (現代カメラ新書). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1982. ISBN 4-257-08077-9. (First published in Kamera Rebyū / Camera Review no.2, February 1978.) Contains an interview of Kumagai Genji, mentioning the Melcon as made by a former employee.
  • Yashima Shōhei (矢島庄平), from Meguro Kōgaku Kōgyō. "Merukon kamera sekkei no yōten" (メルコンカメラ設計の要点, Main points of the design of the Melcon camera). In Shashin Kōgyō no.43, January 1956. Pp.16–8.
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