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Walz was a Japanese camera maker or distributor.

History Edit

First use of the name Edit

The first camera with the name Walz, a 3×4cm folder, appeared in 1936. It was ostensibly made by "Walz Camera Works" (ワルツカメラ・ウオークス) or "Walz Works" (ワルツウオークス) but these were dummy names (see Camera Works), and this maker is identified as Okada Kōgaku by various sources.[1] The earliest examples of the Okada Waltax, made in 1940, also have Walz markings. Both the 3×4cm Walz and the Waltax were distributed by Nihon Shōkai. The same company sold various Walz accessories before 1945, such as a rangefinder, filters and hoods, and again others around 1949. It was certainly the owner of the Walz brand name, and was perhaps the predecessor of Walz Shōkai.

Trading company Edit

The company K.K. Walz Shōkai (㈱ワルツ商会) was already existing in November 1952.[2] It was based in Tokyo.[3] Shōkai literally means "Company" in Japanese; but it is often used for trading companies, and this looks like a distributor's name. It does not mean however that it did not have its own manufacturing branch, perhaps called "Walz Camera Co." as indicated by some lens markings.

Walz sold cameras under its own name. It was also an Olympus authorized dealer, at least in 1954.[4] Walz also sold many accessories, including filters, self-timers, exposure meters, rangefinders, multifocal finders (including a copy of the Leitz Imarect), flash units, movie editors, etc.

The company name became simply K.K. Walz (㈱ワルツ) at some date between October 1955 and August 1956.[5] In 1960 and 1961 it had offices in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Washington D.C.[6] It went bankrupt in April 1961.[7]

Miscellaneous Edit

Walz's president Ōta Toshio (太田俊夫) became a writer after the company closed its doors.[8] He wrote several novels about the business world of the time, including Shachō Saigo no Hi (社長最後の日, The last days of a CEO) or Keikaku Tōsan (計画倒産, Fake Bankruptcy).

A company called Waltz K.K. (ワルツ㈱) exists today (2007) and sells coffee. It was founded in December 1952 in the town of Toyohashi. It is certainly not the same company that sold photographic products, that already existed in November 1952 and was based in Tokyo.[9]

Camera list Edit

120 film Edit

127 film Edit

The Walz (3×4) was sold by Nihon Shōkai before the Walz company.

35mm film Edit

Other products Edit

  • Walz exposure meters:
    • Walz Minor (c.1955)[10]
    • Walz Etalon (sold ¥3,900 in 1955)[11][10]
    • Walz Super II (sold ¥7,000 in 1955)[11][10]
  • Walz rangefinder
  • Walz multifocal finder
  • Walz flash guns
  • Walz self-timer
  • Walz filters and hoods
  • Walz tripods and ball-heads

Notes Edit

  1. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.344 (item 346); Sugiyama, item 1262; McKeown, p.745.
  2. Advertisement dated November 1952, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.214.
  3. Its address between 1952 and 1961 was Tōkyō-to Chūō-ku Nihonbashi Muromachi 1–16 (東京都中央区日本橋室町1–16). Source: advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.214–5 and 329–32.
  4. Advertisements dated 1954 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.215. See also this advertisement for the Walcon and Wagoflex reproduced in the Shashin-Bako website.
  5. Advertisements dated October 1955 and August 1956 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.215 and 329, showing the transition.
  6. Advertisements dated 1960 and 1961 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.330 and 332.
  7. Lewis, p.104.
  8. This page by Shimamura Hideki.
  9. See the chronology of the current Waltz website.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Advertisement in Photo Art no.80, June 1955, p.55.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Column in Photo Art no.80, June 1955, p.103.

References / further reading Edit

Links Edit

In English:

In Japanese:

In French:

  • Cameras at www.collection-appareils.fr

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