The beginnings of Argus Camera Company are rooted with the establishment of the International Radio Corporation (IRC), founded in 1931 by Charles Verschoor. The business was located at 129 Fourth Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. Verschoor, while traveling to Europe, found an interest in the new Leica camera that was introduced by Oskar Barnack of E. Leitz (Wetzlar, Germany). Due to seasonal sales of his radios, Mr. Verschoor decided to market an inexpensive Leica-inspired camera, to be called the Argus. Like the Leica, the Argus used a 35mm film format which was developed in America by Eastman Kodak for cinematic purposes (in collaboration with Thomas A. Edison).
In 1936 Charles Verschoor established The Argus Camera Company as a subsidiary of the International Radio Corporation (IRC). The newly formed Argus model A camera was derived from the inspiration of the Leica camera and opportunity to exploit Eastman's new daylight loading 35mm film cartridge. Verschoor leveraged his expert radio manufacturing to produce a low cost art deco styled Argus Bakelite camera. It was an immediate success. Thirty thousand cameras were sold in the first week at $12.50 each. So successful was the model A, that the manufacturing building was called and addressed to as the Argus building. One of Argus buildings is Argus Museum holding permanent exhibition of Argus cameras.
In 1938 the Argus model C2 was introduced and short thereafter in 1939 the Model C3. The C model cameras with their rugged square metal box design are referred to as the "Brick" cameras. The Model C3 became best-selling 35mm camera in the world for almost three decades.
In the 1940 during World War II and the Korean War, the Argus Company produced military cameras, binoculars, periscopes, and gun sights.
In 1949, the company was renamed to Argus Cameras, Inc.. Due to hard times and under the new management of Robert E. Lewis, all of the established camera lines were ended, including the ground breaking Model A, with the only exception being the popular C3 camera continuing. With the ending of older lines new designs were slowly introduced to fill in the missing gaps. Among them was TLR Argoflex. However, competing with higher quality lines from Germany and cheaper lines from Japan, limited the market for Argus to recoup. Some products of other makers were sold under Argus brand name.
In 1959 Argus was acquired by Sylvania
In 1969 The Sylvania company was sold and camera production suspended.
On July 23 2003 the Argus Camera Company, LLC operates as a subsidiary of Hartford Computer Group, Inc., based in Inverness, Illinois. The new Argus Camera Company, develops, manufactures, and markets digital photographic and video cameras in the United States. Its products include mega pixel carabiner digital photographic cameras, VGA carabiner photographic cameras, digital photographic cameras, and mega pixel digital video cameras
2005 The Argus Building by John Baird - © All Rights Reserved
2004 The Story of the Argus by Hrad Kuzyk
2008 Argus Camera Company, LLC. - History
2012 Business Week - Company Overview of Argus Camera Company, LLC
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