Camera industry in Dresden
Balda | Certo | Eho-Altissa | Ernemann | Feinmess | Hüttig | ICA | Ihagee | Kochmann | Kerman | KW | Eugen Loeber | Ludwig | Mentor | Mimosa | Pentacon | Richter | Werner | Wünsche | Zeiss Ikon | Zeh
Camera distributors in Dresden
Camera industry in Freital
Beier | Pouva | Thowe | Welta

founded in 1919 by Paul Guthe and Benno Thorsch. KWG stands for Kamera Werkstätten Guthe & Thorsch. The company was successor of the camera factory Guthe had founded in 1915. The innovative, compact Patent Etui cameras were introduced in 1920 and continued in production until 1938. The case or Etui of these cameras was slim enough to allow them to be slipped into a pocket. In 1931 KWG introduced the Pilot the first TLR for 3x4cm negatives on 127 film. In 1937 Paul Guthe emigrated to Switzerland, as a Jew he was no longer safe anywhere. Benno Thorsch emigrated to the USA in 1938, for the same reason, he had already met Charles A. Noble of Detroit (who was of German origin) while Noble was on a visit to Germany. Thorsch had suggested selling KWG in exchange for Charles Detroit Photographic business.

The sale went ahead and Charles moved to Germany with his family. Charles realised that the companies future lay with 35mm SLR cameras. A devout Christian, Charles H. Nobel had worked as a missionary in the USA before settling in Detroit, Michigan, after the birth of his son John in 1923. He had later taken over an ailing photo-finishing business that his wife worked for and turned it around into one of the largest in the USA.

The new company Kamera-Werkstaetten Charles A. Noble is mostly known for the Praktiflex 35mm SLR, developed by Benno Thorsch and Alois Hoheisel. The company moved to a larger factory building in the Bismarckstrasse and launched the new camera in 1939, that became the Praktica after the war. KWG was situated in the Eastern part of Germany, in the suburb of Niedersedlitz, in Dresden, the centre of German photo-optical manufacture. It was nationalised in 1945 by the East German post-war Soviet controlled regime. Charles A. Noble and his 23 year old son Henry H. Noble were arrested and imprisoned later they were sent to a Soviet Special prison, formerly Buchenwald, Charles was released in 1952 and returned to the USA, but in 1950 John was sentenced to 15 years in a Soviet work camp in Siberia and was only released after President Eisenhower's personal intervention in 1955.

The company launched the innovative Praktina in 1952, and was renamed as Kamera Werk Niedersedlitz. In 1956 it launched the Praktisix 6x6 SLR. In the mid fifties it was merged with the East German part of Zeiss Ikon to form VEB Kamera- und Kinowerke, and took over the production of the Contax F, a development of the Contax S. In 1964 it became VEB Pentacon, while continuing the production of Praktica models.

After the reunification of Germany in 1990 John H. Noble tried to get back the factory and camera brand. He got back the his fathers old factory in the Bismarckstrasse, now called Kamera Werk Dresden. Today it makes the Noblex panorama cameras, carrying on the Noble name. John H. Noble died on the 17th November 2007.

The Praktica brand stayed in the hands of Pentacon, used for the last Praktica SLRs up until 2000, and for OEM-made compact cameras and compact digicams which are produced in East Asia.

35mm film cameras[]



SLR 6 x 6 Super Pilot with interchangeable lenses, 75mm f2.9 Pilotar; 55mm f4.0 Flektogon; 250mm f5.5 teleVoss. I have a prototype with 90mm f2.8 Kilfitt macro and a Kilfitt 300mm f5.6. built on extinction meter with tables printed on side plates.[]



  • Praktica KW

See Pentacon.

Praktica1950 MM04

Praktica KW

by Ryszard Kobus


Contax F[]

See Contax S.

120 SLR cameras[]


See Pentacon.


127 film cameras[]

Plate Kamera[]


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