From Camera-wiki.org
Jump to: navigation, search

Wollensak was an American company, based in Rochester, New York, which manufactured lenses and shutters from 1899 to 1972. The company was founded by Andrew and John Wollensak.[1] It was bought by Revere Camera Co. in the 1950s,[2] itself absorbed by 3M in 1960,[2] and shut its doors in 1972.[3][1] A company named Surplus Shed currently holds the Wollensak factory building as well as some surplus.

Over the years, Wollensak produced a wide variety of lenses for still and movie cameras, projectors, enlargers, microfilm equipment, and military uses. Their better lenses were often labelled "Velostigmat", and their best lenses were labelled "Raptar". The Raptar name was selected as the winning entry in the company's 1946 "name-the-lens" promotion: it won Templin R. Licklider of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan $1000 in Victory Bonds.[4]

Like the Kodak Ektars, Raptars were often Tessar designs, though other formulae were used, particularly in wide angle and telephoto lenses.

At least one camera was sold with the Wollensak brand: the Wollensak Stereo 10 is a version of the Revere Stereo. In addition, Wollensak produced cine cameras, such as the Wollensak Fastax 16mm camera.[5]


Cameras with Wollensak lens and shutter

Cameras with a Wollensak lens


  • Alphax
  • Pi-Alphax
  • Alphax Synchromatic
  • Automatic
  • Betax (1912-
Available in sizes #0 to #5
  • Heavy Duty Betax
  • Duo
  • Junior
  • Optimo (US)/ Velosto (UK & Europe)
  • Rapax
  • Regular
  • Senior
  • Winner



  1. 1.0 1.1 History of Rochester Companies, by Kingslake.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Revere history at Audiotools.com.
  3. 3M history at Audiotools.com.
  4. "Coming! The NEW Wollensak Raptar Lenses" (advertisement). Inside back cover, Popular Photography magazine (US), April 1946
  5. Wollensak Fastax


photography related industry in Rochester (New York)
American Camera | Bausch & Lomb | Blair | Century | Crown Optical Co. | Elgeet | Folmer & Schwing | Gassner and Marx | Graflex | Gundlach | Ilex | JML | Kodak | Milburn | Monroe | PMC | Ray | Reichenbach, Morey and Will | Rochester Camera and Supply Co. | Rochester Optical Co. | Seneca | Sunart | Walker | Wollensak
and in Rochester (Minnesota)
external links
graflex.org - Rudolf Kingslake's
"Optical industry in Rochester (N.Y.)"
Personal tools