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AKA View Master - Goldhammer

Goldhammer Flexomat 2 

Albert Goldhammer cameras



Unfinished prototype View-Master by Apparate & Kamerabau, coupled rangefinder and metered, quality camera for stereo pairs 12x13mm, shutter B,10-200, Schneider Radionar 3,5/22mm lenses. Interesting diagonal film path as in the production model of the View-Master Stereo Color Camera manufactured at Regula King. Never built as a production model.

Year: 1954



Simpler streamlined body  set the basis for future production models.


In the ’50 years various small German camera producers worked in a kind of pool. Among them Apparate und Kamerabau, Askania Werke, Braun, Montanus Camera, Regula King, Golda Kamera Werke, Feinmechaniks , INA Werke, Schacht, Wirgin, Diax among others. As soon as AkA supplied cameras to America, it was born a cooperation between them and the American Saywer `s, which manufactured the View Master disks + appropriate Scopes. 3-D photographs were shown from all over the world and it were planned to produce a camera with which the customer could take photographs for such View Master disks. At the time Americans manufactured the Personal camera built by Stereocraft Corporation.  Due to the high import duties, with which the European photo market became shielded against imported goods, Saywer’s foresaw possibilities building in Europe such a camera in order to go around the import duties. Eugen Armbruster got approx. 1955 the order to develop the camera. It is a very interesting construction with crosswise current film path, in order to take up the two fields shifted in the format 10 x 11 mm diagonally, one above the other. The Americans were interested in a co-operation with AkA, but Max  Armbruster however strictly rejected, "foreign capital in the firm". The two brothers Max and Eugen Armbruster which were at the AkA’s management became to a violent controversy. In 1958 Eugen separated from the company and changed to fine mechanics in Lahr, where the MEC 16 was built. Probably it was there then involved in the MEC 16’s project. 

Max  Armbruster kept the firm propose to go ahead in the project of the Stereo camera specifically for the View Master Stereo Color Cameras in Friedrichshafen but it was declared  AkA bankruptcy in September 1960 and the parts to make 45.000 cameras went to the company King of the Black Forest. In the first series the individual AkA parts construction are clearly recognized, what also points out that many parts went likewise also into the Black Forest. There are 2 variants: 1. gradated upper cap; 2. high upper cap (later production).





See Regula logo at left top.






Development of a mirror reflex camera/a client: Own edition/date 24.07.1956/recalculation: 22.10.1958.

As objectives specified 3 the down are " Rodenstock Geronar":

Particularly these Tele and the wide angle objective correspond to the Zeiss Pantar objective of the Contina III and the Contaflex Alpha and Beta based on earlier models I and II but now with prontor shutter instead os previous Compur from models I and II and Flexomat prototype.  Flexomat was a project itself based on Contaflex I and II but differs from those in the film advance mechanics, (Retina Style by lever in the bottom) external body appearance and exposure meter placement. In the same year, Compur Werke was offering behind the lens leaf shutters with interchangeable bayonets. Those shutters were adopted on rangefinder Retina IIIs  Retina Reflex S, Voigtlander Vitessa T (who lend the exposure meter to the Flexomat prototype.  and Voigtlander Bessamatic,  Regula IIID and Braun Paxette Reflex. Zeiss Ikon reformulated the project returned to Contaflex I and II with the new Alpha and Beta models and further to the Contaflex IV with the Prima model but always using modified Prontor reflex shutter making slight different bayonet. Rodenstock was a subsidiary of Zeiss, so they manufactured the identical objective for the Contaflex line of cameras, and Geronar were renamed Pantar. Also this camera was developed by Mr. Goldhammer. In its personal collection is still the 1st prototype without exposure meters with the label TDC this camera (which would have been the Flexomat I) was originally develop for the Three Dimension Corporation, a subsidiary of Bell & Howell, to whom ther were produced the two models of Stereo Colorist cameras.   As the camera became ready, Mr. Goldhammer knew that the Japanese and particularly Minolta put in the American market a mirror reflex camera (The SR2) of superior performance, to which price the Flexomat could not compete. Thus "Flexomat" never went into series production. Zeiss Ikon commercialized these cameras based o its name influence, although these cameras didn’t feel much success.


Flexomat and Geronar lens system.


Ideas born from the Flexomat optical system: The Contaflex and the Contina III.


Contaflex Pantar 30 and 75mm lenses. Identical to Flexomat Geronar


Contaflex Alpha (Contaflex I body)

Contaflex Beta 1957 (Contaflex II body)

Contaflex Prima 1959 (Contaflex IV body) and Pantar System 45mm, 75mm and 30mm.

Contaflex Prima with 8x Teleskop (400mm) and Pantar 75mm and 30mm

Contaflex close-up lenses :1m, 0.5m, 0.3m, 0.2m.

Contaflex prima 1959

Contina III 1957

Contina III multifinder/rangefinder and Pantar lens system.


Multifinder/rangefinder details.




Compact Golda


Mr. Goldhammer designed still another further camera, in whose production the Bodensee work had also very strong interest. Earlier than the Rollei 35 and the KB-Minox and in a time, when the German 35mm cameras became ever larger and heavier, it resumed its objective, as small as possible, to build a light and elegant camera consistently designed as a "Pocket – Camera”. This name had itself also 16 years protected. This project could be said as a full frame predecessor of the Swiss Tessina which needs no special film cassettes. In the building cameras, it is already known that there are lost a certain space in the empty volume between objective and film. Mr. Goldhammer came now on the ingenious idea to bring objective and film nearerB by directing the rays of light downward over a prism around 45°. The prism itself shortened ray trace – and volume becoming together objective and film turning on directly to a small, handy camera in the full size 24x36mm offering a compactness never seen before- or after, contributing for a truly vest pocket design. It accommodated the concealable finder between film box and take-up reel, behind the prism. A really ingenious Idea.



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