An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff
Rollei (Franke & Heidecke)
Lack of capital forced them to start production on stereo cameras, a proven seller during that time. Franke's juggling of bills and incoming payments, especially from cameras exported during a time of rapid inflation, allowed the company rapid growth and good working conditions in the factory.
In 1929 Franke and Heidecke introduced the Rolleiflex, a camera that took them to the forefront in camera design, and was to be copied by Voigtlander, Heidecke's former employer who had first rejected the idea, as well as Zeiss Ikon and a host of Japanese and German firms Eventually, they bought Voigtlander..
With smaller cameras taking an ever greater market share, Franke and Heidecke began producing subminiature and 35mm cameras in the 1960's. Some production was moved to Singapore to lower production costs. But they were fighting a losing battle against the Japanese camera industry. In 1981 the company went bankrupt. But in 1982, the company was back as Rollei Fototechnic, with production back in Germany. Today they still build Rolleiflex twin lens reflex cameras.