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An Ansco B2 Speedex Junior

Ansco was the brand name of a photographic company based in Binghamton, New York, which produced photographic films, papers and cameras from the mid-1800s until the 1980s.[1][2] It also sold rebadged versions of cameras made by other manufacturers, including Agfa and Chinon. A Minolta-built Ansco model was the first 35 mm camera in space and their film was used in space, too.


Early History[edit]

Advertisement for Ansco Speedex Film, 1920.

The company was founded in 1842 (pre-dating Kodak in the photography business) as E. Anthony & Co. (later E. and H.T. Anthony & Company, when Edward Anthony's brother officially joined the business) and became the Anthony & Scovill Co. in 1901, after a merger with the Camera business of Scovill Manufacturing (Connecticut), founded by James Mitchell Lamson Scovill and William Henry Scovill. That year the company headquarters relocated to Binghamton New York. This was already a site of one of Ansco's photographic paper manufacturing facilities. Just after that, in 1905 it settled a landmark patent infringement case against Eastman Kodak, which had been violating the Goodwin roll film patent (Hannibal Goodwin of Newark, New Jersey) held by Ansco. The settlement received from Kodak was very small compared to the damage done to Ansco, which already had financial problems as a result of business lost to Eastman Kodak.[3]

Merger with Agfa[edit]

In 1928 Ansco merged with the German photo company Agfa to form a corporation named Agfa-Ansco. Later that year that firm and other German-owned chemical firms were merged into a Swiss holding company, Inter-nationale Gesellschaft für Chemische Unternehmungen AG or IG Chemie, that was controlled by Germany's chemical industry conglomerate, IG Farben. In 1929 the parent corporation's name was changed to American IG Chemical Corporation or American IG, later renamed General Aniline & Film, which continued to produce cameras under the Agfa-Ansco name.[3]

During the period before the U.S. entrance into World War II, the Agfa-Ansco business grew enormously, with added manufacturing capacity in paper, film and camera manufacturing. The Agfa-Ansco interests in the U.S. and Binghamton factory were taken over by the U.S. government in 1941 due to its ties with Germany.[3] The Ansco company was merged with General Aniline as General Aniline & Film in 1939.

Color film: Anscochrome[edit]

Prior to the war, Agfa-Ansco had marketed Agfacolor film made in Germany. To assist the war effort, the company experts used available information to develop a similar product, first called Ansco Color, later Anscochrome. After the war, Anscochrome was widely distributed, but met with limited commercial success in competition with Kodak products. An important marketing feature was its greater speed in comparison to Kodachrome.[4][5] A second advantage was that users, professional or amateur, could process the film in their own darkrooms rather than having to send it away (as with Kodachrome) or use cumbersome re-exposure steps as with Kodak Ektachrome.

Post-War Business[edit]

The company was the last business to be sold as enemy assets to American interests in the 1960s. At that time, a new headquarters was constructed in Vestal, New York, adjacent to the new college campus of Harpur College (now Binghamton University). This location is the only remaining evidence of Ansco in the Binghamton area, and is currently occupied by the University. It continued to do business after World War II as Ansco until 1967 when the company adopted the parent's name of General Aniline & Film (GAF), and a variety of cameras as well as films were sold under this name until the business was shut down in the early 1980s. Briefly in the 1970s, it was the official film of Disneyland and at this time, actor Henry Fonda served as the company's spokesman in television commercials including one that featured Jodie Foster in her first acting role.[6] The last Ansco cameras were produced in the early 1990s by a Hong Kong business that bought the rights to the name.[3]


External links[edit]


  1. ^ Current,Ira. ANSCO Reminiscences Broome County Historical Society Newsletter, Spring 1995.
  2. ^ Ollinger, James. A Brief History of Agfa, Ansco and GAF Cameras.
  3. ^ a b c d Camp, William L. Ansco Chronology, From a Binghamton, N. Y. point of view. July 14, 2011.
  4. ^ Anscochrome and Ansco color transparencies slides. June 11, 2010.
  5. ^ About Ansco. February 07, 2008.
  6. ^ 1971 GAF View Master Commercial with Henry Fonda & Jodie Foster at YouTube

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansco — Please support Wikipedia.
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280 news items

Press & Sun-Bulletin

Press & Sun-Bulletin
Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:33:45 -0700

With the factories of companies like EJ, IBM, Ansco, Link and GE, plus many others, the area was laden with smokestacks and industrial wastes that gave off their own unique odor. Many of our elders can still accurately describe the smell of the air ...

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times
Fri, 02 Oct 2015 08:00:00 -0700

They are glorious works of art — turbulent abstractions as well as enchanting portraits of faraway worlds that are the stuff of sci-fi movies. Except they aren't. These images are from "Earth + Space: Photographs From the Archives of NASA," a ...

Press & Sun-Bulletin

Press & Sun-Bulletin
Fri, 02 Oct 2015 07:17:26 -0700

Because of her education in bacteriology and chemistry at Cornell, she was hired by Agfa Ansco, testing the water from their wells, counting the bacterial colonies and using that research to compile reports. “Because of my education, I was given $20 ...

Dubuque Telegraph Herald

Dubuque Telegraph Herald
Tue, 29 Sep 2015 01:03:45 -0700

The photo exhibit is part of Fall Into Art, a two-day event that offers people the opportunity to visit art galleries and museums throughout Dubuque. Olson photographed his subjects in the basement of the Caradco building using an Ansco studio camera ...

The Stokes News

The Stokes News
Thu, 24 Sep 2015 06:30:00 -0700

Jesse Moore stated: “My first camera was an Ansco box – a Christmas present when I was 13 years old. One year and two days later – using a $50 Praktica FX – I published my first front-page photograph in a daily newspaper. By the time I turned 16, I had ...

Foster's Daily Democrat

Foster's Daily Democrat
Mon, 14 Sep 2015 10:03:45 -0700

As a young boy, he showed an interest in photography and for his eighth birthday, he received his first camera, an Alfa Ansco Box camera as a present. Stuart received his BA in 1953 at Adelphi College on Long Island, NY. He studied a few semesters in ...

Albany Times Union (blog)

Albany Times Union (blog)
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 02:23:15 -0700

I trimmed a few “competition season” competitions from my 2015 exhibitions. I didn't enter the Iowa State Fair or the Washington State Fair this year; and after what happened in the Vermont State Fair last year, they're on my naughty list until further ...
Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:03:45 -0700

Online estate and consignment sale operator Everything But The House is looking to move its corporate office Downtown to facilitate the company's growth, a company executive told The Enquirer Tuesday. Comments from Mike Reynolds, partner and chief ...

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