The Aiken-Gleason Camera Company began in 1893 in the city of Onalaska, Wisconsin with a single camera design by Eugene P. Gleason. The camera sold for one dollar and was named the "Comet". Frank Aiken was Eugene's business partner and father in-law, through his marriage to miss Lula in 1892. Mr. Aiken was in and continued to be associated with the lumber business until about 1898, at which time he moved to La Cross. In approximately 1896 the business was incorporated and moved to La Crosse, at the corner of 7th and La Crosse streets, where they engaged in the manufacture of all kinds of camera lenses and photographers supplies. On November 14th 1895, Mr. Gleason received patent approval, no. 565,204 for his camera invention.
In 1901 the Aiken-Gleason Camera Company name changed to the Imperial Camera & Manufacturing Company. This may be due to the departure of Frank Aiken who was recorded as disposing his interests in the camera company and began a livery business on state street.
In 1903, due to financial difficulties the Imperial Camera & Manufacturing Company was sold to the Century Camera Company, prior to the century camera company sale to Eastman Kodak.
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