GOMZ stands for Gosularstvennyi Optiko-Mekhanicheskii Zavod (State Optical-Mechanical Factory). Founded in 1932 near Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), the GOMZ factory is one of the oldest of Soviet optical companies.
In 1965, the factory changed its name to LOMO or Leningradskoe Optiko Mekhanichesko Obedinenie (Leningrad Optical-Mechanical Union).
The Leningradskoe Optiko Mechanichesckoe Objedinenie (LOMO) was one of the largest and most secret companies in the Soviet Union. Before 1966 it had been GOMZ. They designed and made almost all of the optics used by Soviet military and space programs, but also normal cameras like the Voigtländer copy LOMO Lubitel 2. Now, however, Russia has lost her client states and hence LOMO has lost most of its military and scientific contracts. The company that once employed over 30,000 people now employs about 10,000 but still remains the largest firm in St. Petersburg.
After the decline of the Soviet Union, two Viennese marketing students - Matthias Fiegl and Wolfgang Stranzinger - came upon an LC-A while travelling in 1991. They shot random snapshots of their travels with their new LOMO, not knowing what would turn up on film. To their surprise, the resulting images had amazing colour and saturation, and were unlike anything they'd seen before. And so the Lomography movement was born.
Today, LOMO is best known among photographers as a producer of toy cameras - cheap, low-quality plastic cameras. However the company's accomplishments should not be underestimated. The LOMO company produces microscopes, spectral instruments, measuring instruments, sighting tubes, objective lenses, telescopes, sights, night vision devices, and more. They also made the largest telescope in the world, with a mirror that is 6 meters in diameter.
(Source: Wikipedia, Images: lomo.ru)