1942 - 1945





When the USA declared war on Germany the American arm of Leica came under the control of the Alien Property Custodian. Due to a shortage of suitable cameras for military use, Leitz were asked to produce around 6000 Leica llla's for the US Signal Corps.This did not happen (various reasons have been suggested). Premier Instrument Corp. agreed to produce the cameras at a unit price based on a 6000 unit order, although this was eventually reduced to an order for 750. No cameras had been supplied by the end of the war, and the military authorities cancelled the order. The money received by Kardon represented only a small proportion of the development costs.
In an effort to recoup his investment, Peter Kardon, the president of Premier Instrument Corp. marketed a civilian version of his camera. The US Army issued a requirement for a camera capable of operating in extremes of temperature. The original Kardon was modified and around 1600 were subsequently sold for military use (a further 200 were sold to the general public).
Death of Peter Kardon. Running of the company falls upon his son Leonard and son-in-law Irving M. Gross. Manufacture of the civilian Kardon is discontinued.
The US military is once again able to obtain Leica cameras from Germany.
Following rejection of a request for further military orders, production tools and spare parts are sold off as scrap.
Detailed information is available in the book The Kardon Camera Story by Jerome Katz, 1985.
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