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Yashica began in December, 1949 in Nagano, Japan, when the Yashima Seiki Company was founded with an initial investment of $566. Its eight employees originally manufactured components for electric clocks. Later, it began making camera components, and by June 1953 had changed its name to Yashima Optical Industry Company, Ltd. Manufactured its first complete cameras, the Pigeonflex, and manufactured and marketed its first, the Yashimaflex. The Pigeonflex and Yashimaflex are twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras designed for 6??6cm exposures on 120 rollfilm; they and successive cameras used lenses sourced from the Tomioka Optical Works, beginning a relationship that would last for years.
Yashima continued to refine and improve its TLR cameras, and a improved series named 'Yashicaflex' was introduced in 1954 with semi-automatic winding. In 1957, Yashima founded Yashica, Inc., a subsidiary arm in New York City to manage marketing efforts in the USA. 1957 also marked the introduction of a popular new TLR camera series, the Yashica Mat line. During the next year and a half, Yashima continued to grow, with 1,982 employees by 1958. Later in 1958, Yashima changed its name to Yashica Company, Ltd, when it acquired the Nicca Camera Company, Ltd. The Nicca acquisition was fortuitous, greatly expanding the companies market into 35mm film cameras.... from Camerapedia.org