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POST

 

FRITZ KAFTANSKI

or FOTOFEX before the FOTOFEX...

 

Fritz KAFTANSKI was born in Essen (Germany) in 1899.

1927- c1936 German Period

FOTOFEX KAMERAS was born in 1927 in Berlin. There were made some wood and later metal box cameras and a few folding.

In 1932 during the Leipzig fair, FOTOFEX presents the VISORFEX and a few monthes later the FEXOR, SIDA TURF, PARLORFEX and MINI-FEX (which was called the smallest camera of the world).

                                            

In 1934 comes the SIDA and EXTRA SIDA. This small camera was made in Germany and later in Czechoslovakia, Poland, under license in Italy (G. POZZOLI of Milano) England (British Sida Cameras Ltd), France as for the  SIDAX, and may be somewhere else... Even  Russian copies of this camera does exist under the name MALIUKTA (means "little one" in Russian).

kft sida red sida black.jpg (42651 octets)

SIDA metal (PATENT ang  ?") and SIDA red bakelite (Italy)

Interessant article in Photo Antiquaria (Club Daguerre) N76 (in German)

 

 

1937-1939 Czech period.

Kaftanski moved to Czechoslovakia with patent of SIDA where production continued.

In 1937 comes the SIDAX 4x4 and in 1938 the FEX 4x6.5 which will become the basis of a very long serial of bakelite made by FEX in France. See FEX ; SUPERIOR, SUPERFEX, first step in FEX  history in France.

During this period, it is possible that KAFTANSKI had some contacts with MIOM in France because of very similar shape of the Czech DUFA FIT and PHOTAX BLINDE.

 

fex ama.jpg (33738 octets)    fex excella idar optik.jpg (33395 octets)

        AMA                                                                         EXCELLA

fex super excella.jpg (32070 octets)

    SUPER EXCELLA

fex futurit.jpg (26596 octets)

FUTURIT

(marked "import de Slovaquie" which means imported from Slovakia in French)

These 4 cameras made in Slovakia were probably inspired from KAFTANSKI design. Manufacturer could be KABLO of Bratislava who was the bakelite's camera bodies supplier for FEX Prag.

 

 

1939-1941 PARIS

No information about this period. Kaftanski lived near Paris and that could confirm relationships with MIOM PHOTAX ... ?

 

1942-1945 LYON

1942 is the year of birth of FEX as the most prolific French camera   manufacturer.

After he found an associate, Mr BOUCHETAL in Lyon, the first French FEX camera was made during the WWII restrictions, with light wood covered of black paper... but with an ANGENIEUX lens (as this was the nearest lens manufacturer in the free zone). This was the COMPA FEX. (on later models, Angenieux asked that name around the lens being deleted as this was a very poor quality camera !).

Lyon's plant continue to built FEX cameras probably with Kaftanski participation at least til the end of 1950.

 

1945-1970(?) PARIS

Birth of KAFTA. This company first sold FEX cameras and then create its own cameras KAFTAX and BANCO which looks a little like the PHOTAX. All but the 'KAFTAX rigid' have a pop-up shutter/lens assembled on a cylindrical tube.

As for most of others competitors like FEX & PHOTAX, these cameras used 620 spools.

 

 ph banco 45.jpg (57137 octets)

BANCO 4.5

ph banco kafta.jpg (54127 octets)

KAFTA BANCO

ph banco perfect kafta w box.jpg (81125 octets)

BANCO PERFECT

 

ph banco pub recto.jpg (357650 octets)ph banco pub verso low.jpg (79801 octets)

BANCO Advertising of the shape of the camera (with kind authorization of Mr&Mrs ROYER)

ph kaftax mp.jpg (59690 octets)

KAFTAX MP

ph kaftax rigide.jpg (63366 octets)

KAFTAX (rigid)

kft telka X obturateur kafta.jpg (76074 octets) kft telka X obturateur kafta 1.jpg (74655 octets)

Interesting is this French TELKA X camera made by DEMARIA Paris in the 1950's, the shutter is the same as on the Banco/Kaftax !

 

STYLOPHOT Patented by KAFTANSKI 1955

The STYLOPHOT dated 1955 design by KAFTANSKI is an other interesting model.

Subminiature camera of a shape of a large pen, using 16mm film in special cartridges.

kft iris adv.jpg (754385 octets)

1948 Advertising for the IRIS extinction meter

(note the KAFTA Co was advertising for the FEX cameras SUPERFEX & ULTRAFEX)

meter tempor optical.jpg (96202 octets)

TEMPOR extinction meter a bit more better than IRIS

kft pub kaftax & sidax.jpg (471910 octets)

Advertising for KAFTAX & SIDAX

 

Here was only a very small part of interesting and long Kaftanski camera manufacturing...

Thanks to Wim LJUIT from the Netherlands for his important search about Kaftanski history ;-)

and for his article translated in the Club Niepce Lumiere bulletin N95

Now enjoy the FEX prolific production from 1942 to 1980.

 

 

 

 For all kind of questions, please send email to   candidcamera@free.fr
 Copyright 2005 FOTOFEX - please do not use pictures without authorization
 Last update : 21 avril 2008                                                     V3/MAR2005   End V2 counter at 11482