Photography in 1913

The Ica catalog

One of the funny things I sometimes do is checking out suspicious looking trash bins. One time I found a collection of about 150 different ancient radio tubes. And many times I have found books. One of them was the general catalog for the year 1913 of Ica, a German company based in the then glorious city of Dresden. Ica was Europe's largest factory for photographic and cinema equipment, having "over 1500 employees and workers", as they proudly printed under this image of their factory and worker's homes. This picture adorns the first page of the 250-page strong catalog that gives basic information on their several thousand different products!

The picture illustrates the ideals of the time: Tall chimneys pumping out thick black smoke were a symbol of progress! The smoke probably came from a large central steam engine that drove all the machinery, via long drive shafts and belts. Traffic was by electric street cars and horse-powered vehicles. It was slow, so it was important that the employees could live close to the factory. The company provided homes for them, right next to the workplace - zero commuting time!

I have scanned a few funny things out of this catalog, for your enjoyment. You may be surprised by how modern some products were... in several senses! There's much more, but I won't scan the entire catalog - or someone may complain about copyright issues! :-)

Some Ica cameras

Projectors and accessories

Other items

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