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[Rollei] Do I Have a Wajsman Camera to sell you! Quality Galore!

At 10:43 PM 10/19/01 +0200, Nathan Wajsman wrote:
>I realize from your posts that you have some kind of emotional attachment to
>the Voigtländer company. But the reality is that it went bust and its assets
>were sold to others; one of those assets is the brand. 

ARGH!  Can ANYONE get this tale correct?  Voigtländer NEVER "went bust"!

In 1924, Friedrich Ritter von Voigtländer passed on.  He was the last
direct male heir of the name and had daughters as heirs.  His will set up a
family trust and the trust sold the company -- with lots of restrictions on
the use of the name -- to the Schering drug company.  In 1951, Schering,
going through the same hard times as were most drug companies at that point
(!), threatened to close the Voigtländer works.  The Zeiss Foundation --
with its duty to preserve deserving German optical concerns -- intervened
and purchased the company from Schering.  In 1966, the Zeiss Foundation
merged it with Zeiss Ikon, which then "went bust".  So, Zeiss sold most of
the sellable shards of Zeiss Ikon to Rollei Fotowerke (back on topic, mind
you!), though they purloined the Voigtländer optical folks to Oberkochen.
Finally, in 1979, Rollei Fototechnic "went bust";  out of the bankruptcy,
they kept the Voigtländer assets less the name.  Thus, the name, in course,
passed to Ringfoto.

Note that the family  gave permission for the use of their name, with great
restrictions, to Schering, which restrictions Zeiss respected and, in fact,
guaranteed in the 1950's.  Rollei Fototechnic respected these restrictions.
 However, German bankruptcy law wiped these restrictions out.  The primary
of these restrictions was that the name was never to be licensed nor sold
to a third party.

The morality of this?  Consider the following:

- --  Ringfoto has the legal right, despite a half-century of promises to the
contrary, to license the name.

- -- The family attempted to ensure that their name would not be licensed nor
sold to a third party.    (Per reports in the German press, incidentally,
the family DOES object to Cosina's use of their name.  Several members of
the family, by the way, work for Rollei.)

- -- Cosina is a perfectly good brand name in its own right.  Why are they
scared to use their OWN high reputation on quality products?  "Lack of
self-esteem" is big with the psycho-babble crowd in the US at present, but,
heavens!, we don't often witness "corporate lack of self-esteem"!

- -- Cosina is being directly dishonest in putting "Made in Germany" on at
least some of the boxes in which this gear is sold.  (Per both the IDCC and
the Lug.)

- -- There is absolutely NO connection between Voigtländer -- a camera and
lens works in Braunschweig, Germany, which ceased independent existence a
third of a century back -- and Cosina, a fine producer of quality gear
based a half a world away, other than Cosina's legal right to use the name.

Cosina is NOT Voigtländer and has no connection with Voigtländer.  For them
to use the name is simply wrong.


msmall    FAX:  +540/343-7315
Cha robh bàs fir gun ghràs fir!