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  ADOX Company History

In 1860, Heidelberg University student Carl Schleussner (1830-1899) set up a laboratory in Frankfurt that initially specialized in pharmaceuticals. However, the focus changed when Dr. Schleussner was introduced to Dr. Richard Leach Maddox's dry plate invention in 1871. He experimented with the plates, and was so impressed with his improvements that his laboratory was soon transformed into a factory that manufactured and sold high-quality gelatin emulsion dry plates worldwide. Dr. Schleussner then began a successful collaboration with physicist Conrad Wilhelm Rontgen, which resulted in the development of X-ray plates. Soon, Dr. Schleussner's fledgling company became the foremost international manufacturer of X-ray plates.

However, ADOX, as the factory became known, continued being a major force in photographic innovation long after the death of its founder, most notably in the field of color photography. Dr. R. Fischer's experiments in chromogenic processes were applied to the company's unique color coupling method in 1911. But a major problem soon arose when the dyes resisted mixing. Numerous tests later, ADOX technicians finally discovered suitable dyes and patented its new pioneering technology. Another prosperous industry was born. By the 1920s, ADOX commenced its camera manufacturing operations in Wiesbaden. After Adolf Hitler seized power in Germany and began his infamous persecution of Jews, the fallout resonated within the photographic industry. Siblings Heinrich ("Henry"), Max and Josef Wirgin were forced out of Germany to escape the Nazi purge. The Wiesbaden-based Wirgin camera factory was incorporated into the ever-growing ADOX conglomerate in 1938, but sold it back to Henry Wirgin following World War II.

By the 1950s, the ADOX assembly line was rolling out medium format Golf folding cameras (featuring Will Wetzlar's ADOXAR lenses) and the 35mm Polo cameras. It began marketing color film negative in 1956, the same year it introduced its 35mm camera known as the ADOX 300, distinguished by its interchangeable film magazines that allowed for emulsion changes within the roll. Within two years, ADOX was manufacturing color reversal film, and established an international reputation with its KB14 AND KB17 thin layer films, which were referred to by U.S. distributors as "the German wonder film".

The Schleussner family sold its photographic operations and ADOX trademark to DuPont USA in 1962, which subsequently licensed the film technology to a Yugoslavian manufacturer known as Fotokemika. Upon the expiration of that licensing agreement in 1992, ADOX films began being sold under the name Efke. Fotompex, a Berlin distributor, registered the ADOX brand name, which now manufactures primarily 35mm and Super 8 films and photo paper. Although Dr. Schleussner's original company no longer exists, the name ADOX lives on in its Fotowerke plant in Bad Saarow, Germany.

CLICK HERE for a listing and information about ADOX cameras.

2003 About Adox Fotowerke, Inc.(URL:

2013 ADOX (URL:

2015 Adox (URL:

1963 British Journal of Photography, Vol. CX (London: Henry Greenwood & Co., Ltd.), p. 785.

2015 History: Traditionally Innovative – Where We Come From (URL:

1956 (June) Popular Photography (New York: Ziff-Davis Publishing Company), p. 10.

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