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Minolta was a Japanese company that, under one name or another, manufactured cameras from 1929 to 2003. It produced cameras for many film formats, from 16mm film to medium format. In the 1950s Chiyoda, as it was then called, ventured beyond production of cameras and binoculars into business services, especially photocopiers. Most branches of the company were related to optics: the copier branch, the exposure meter branch, etc. Minolta was succeeded by Konica Minolta after the merger with Konica in 2003.
The company was founded in Osaka on November 11, 1928 by Kazuo Tashima, under the name Nichidoku Shashinki Sh'ten. Tashima got support from the German camera technicians Billy Neumann and Willy Heilemann, and the first cameras used lenses and shutters imported from Germany. A plant was built in Mukogawa, in the prefecture of Hy?go. The first camera produced by the company was the Nifcarette released in 1929. It was followed by the Nifcaklapp and Nifcasport folding cameras and by the Nifca-Dox strut-folder, all taking film plates or pack film. At this early period, all the cameras were directly advertised and distributed by the company, which was using a round logo with the letters N, D, PH and Co assembled inside a circle, surely for Nichi Doku Photo Company. In 1930, a strike occurred in the Mukogawa plant, whose director was Willy Heilemann. Heilemann dismissed all the strikers and opposed Tashima, who was favouring more moderate measures.... from Camerapedia.org