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Vlad Posted - Feb 12 2011 : 4:25:42 PM
So while browsing around I've stumbled upon this excellent post with an article about Arsenal and FED: http://kharek.com/showthread.php?t=1215&page=1

It's in Russian, but for non-Russian speakers I highly recommend running it through an auto-translator, because there is some very interesting information and direct sources quoted, like marketing directors and some other officials who worked at Arsenal and FED.

One VERY VERY curious quote had really intrigued me made by a constructor of Arsenal cameras Vladilen Lunchenko that worked at the factory since 1949. Here's the original excerpt:

"Рассказывает конструктор арсенальских фотоаппаратов, пришедший на завод в 1949 году и проработавший на нем почти 40 лет, Владилен Лунченко:
Владилен Лунченко: "Арсенал" занялся фотопроизводством, когда ввезли фирмы Carl Zeiss и Contax. И вот этот Contax был поставлен на производство. Было такое массовое производство на "Арсенале". Была вывезена и технология, и даже часть деталей. Это вот сразу после войны.
Вот и началось с этого Contax, назвали Contax "Киевом". Потом был "Киев-2", ну, и постепенно там добавлялось... "

Translated it says something like: "Arsenal became producer of photo-equipment when they brought in firms Carl Zeiss and Contax. And this Contax became a mass produced camera. [Soviets] brought in technology and even some parts. This was right after the war. So we began the production of this Contax and called it "Kiev", THEN (!!!) there was Kiev-2, and it was slowly incrementing in models".

So this "THEN" had really made me stop short. If I understand this correctly he talks about Kiev-1?? So at this point I'm trying to look at this from a different angle - (and pure speculation here) what if the Kievs with original German parts were in fact Kiev-1's and then when it because domestic parts camera it moved on as Kiev-2?? Or was he simply mistaken? We're talking about one of the original Kiev camera designers here....

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Vlad Posted - Feb 26 2011 : 10:43:27 AM
Jacques, regarding FED it's an interesting bit of information, I'll try to find out more, thanks! I would imagine they started making military stuff when the war started or when they moved to Berdsk, 1938 date seems a bit early to me, but very possible.

Jacques M. Posted - Feb 26 2011 : 10:09:50 AM

About the name Volga, you are absolutely right, Vlad. This name is noted on the Jena plans as the future Contax-like Ukrainian camera. Why was this name changed into "Kiev"? Perhaps for patriotic reasons?

For the second question, I cannot find again the thesis of this American guy. He was saying that Fed had been helpful for aircraft industry thanks to their knowledge in aluminium metallurgy, all that c. 1938. In fact, by him, Fed had become a military industrial complex as soon as this date.
Certainly Zoom could help us... I hope so...

Amitiés. Jacques.
Vlad Posted - Feb 21 2011 : 4:48:15 PM
Sorry the statement above is referencing your earlier post, but in regards to this last one, I am not sure that FED because connected to aeronautical industry until after the war... I never heard of that.. but then again, I've never heard of many things .

Vlad Posted - Feb 21 2011 : 4:46:39 PM
Jacques, as far as I know, they WANTED to call it Volga, but none of the cameras ever bore than name, am I correct?

Jacques M. Posted - Feb 17 2011 : 10:54:23 AM

Thanks for the translation, Vlad. It gives a good idea of the contents.
I had found some years ago a study by an American guy about relations between Fed and the aeronautical industry. Very complete and interesting. It seems that Fed had become an industrial and military complex as soon as 1938. I try to find again that work.

Amitiés. Jacques.
Vlad Posted - Feb 14 2011 : 7:28:53 PM
Jacques, sorry translator didn't work out for you.. unfortunately I don't posses the time currently to fully translate it but to summarize, these few things and facts were of interest to me, at least, in this article, since I didn't know that:

- Cameras on all factories in USSR were produced as front for real military production behind the curtains on those factories. Factories like Arsenal and FED actually were losing a lot of money by producing these cameras.

- An interesting saying by Arsenal employees: if you put together all the little parts for Kievs in different order you can assemble an intercontinenal missile , although the statement is false since Arsenal never made missiles, it's quite funny.

- Even though ALL cameras were manufactured on military factories, the standards for camera production went through a civilian quality control rather than rigorous military standards authority.

- Phone number for is still Arsenal is unlisted if you call information in Kiev. Most Arsenal production and how many people work there was classified since 1763.

- FED in 80s was making 10,000 cameras a month. After cease of production they were still selling them for next 6 years.

Jacques M. Posted - Feb 13 2011 : 04:04:19 AM

Just tried the automatic translation. Discouraging
A pity: all that seems very interesting...
If there is a possibility...

Jacques M. Posted - Feb 13 2011 : 02:22:13 AM
Hi Vlad,
The first name of the Kievs was in fact "Volga", if we consider the plans which were made at Jena by the Germans: the original ones had been destroyed.
The very first Kievs (perhaps these Kiev I?) were in fact renamed Contaxes. They were made at Arsenal's from Contax parts (coming from Dresden): we can recognize them by the inner "Contax" incription. Then, very soon, the three production lines made at Jena were shipped to Kiev. And little by little, Arsenal factory made parts by themselves.

So, I think you could be right. But all is not perfectly clear. It's the question which interests me (topic "forerunners of Kiev II), at least for the moment!

Amitiés. Jacques.

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