The company Kyoei-Sha is founded in Tokyo by Kanzo Nagakawa, an engineer employed by Konishiroku (who later become Konica). It is intended that the name of the camera should be Letax, from LEica and NetTAX. This cannot be registered, and Leotax is used instead. The prototype camera, whilst resembling the Leica ll, has a viewfinder window, but only one opening for the rangefinder. The rangefinder is not coupled to the lens.
Nakagawa obtains financial backing from Yasuo Minagawa, who is a partner in the camera trading company Minagawa Trading. Kyoei-Sha becomes Showa Kogaku.
The Leotax Original is produced in very small quantities (probably around 50 in total). This differs from the prototype in having a viewfinder window and two rangefinder openings. The rangefinder is still uncoupled. Kanzo Nagakawa joins the army.
The Leotax Special A and Special B are introduced. These are developments of the Leotax Original, both with coupled rangefinders (the B has slow speeds).
Production resumes after the war, with the Leotax Special.
Leotax Special Dll and Dlll introduced.
Company name changed to Showa Optical Works Ltd. Leotax D lV introduced.
Appearance of the Leotax S model.
The Leotax F is marketed. Early models are engraved Showa Optical Works Ltd whilst later models have Leotax Camera Co. Ltd. on the top plate.
Introduction of the Leotax T and K models. As with the Leotax F, early models are engraved Showa Optical Works Ltd, later models with Leotax Camera Co. Ltd.
Company name changed to Leotax Camera Co. Ltd.
Production of the Leotax TV commences. This is the first Leotax with a self timer.
Production of the Leotax T2 (a TV without the self timer) and K3 (a T2 with altered speeds) starts The FV and TV 2 models are also marketed..
Leotax T 2L introduced to the range.
The Leotax G, the last model, is produced. This is a new design, with a hinged back and all speeds combined on one dial. The top plate is re-designed. Leotax go into liquidation in the face of increased competition.
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