Most items of photographic equipment from the Soviet Union are marked with the logo of the factory where they were made.
|GOMZ factory logo on Lubitel-2; VOOMP logo and very early GOMZ logo on Fotokor-1. Images by Süleyman DemirImages by Süleyman Demir (Image rights)|
Zavod Arsenal (Завод Арсенал = Arsenal Factory), Kiev, Ukraine. Arsenal is one of the oldest and most famous industrial factories in Soviet Union and later Ukraine. The factory mainly specialized in optical components for the Soviet military and space programs. The factory also produced the professional grade photographic cameras. They were Kiev 135 film and 120 film series, Salyut series, and some others.
F.E. Dzerzhinsky Factory, Kharkov, Ukraine. FED is the initials of F. E. Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the NKVD, in honor of him the factory was named. The NKVD was the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (= Народный комиссариат внутренних дел = Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del, (НКВД = NKVD), a secret police organization of the Soviet Union later known as the KGB. The factory was originally an orphanage workforce was based on youths living and working together in a commune. After the groundbreaking introduction of the Leica II in 1932, Soviet leaders stopped the import of photographic equipment and set the FED factory to its task of creating a Leica of their own. Only 18 months later, in 1934, the FED factory began churning out its first clone of the Leica II rangefinder camera. Since then, they have produced millions of cameras, some good and some not so good. The variations in the engravings on the FED camera tops make it worth a special mention, reflecting the changes within the Soviet Union.
State Optical-Mechanical Factory (= Государственный оптико-механический завод, Ленинград, ГОМЗ, Gosularstvennyi Optiko-Mekhanicheskii Zavod, Leningrad). It was the manufacturer of the early series of the famous Lubitel cameras. One of the biggest Soviet camera industry giant was GOMZ . In 1962 GOMZ became a part the Leningrad Optical and Mechanical Association of Enterprises (LOOMP), (= Ленинградское объединение оптико-механических предприятий, ЛООМП), In 1965 the name changed again as Leningrad Optical-Mechanical Union. (LOMO), (= Ленинградское Oптико-Mеханическое Oбъединение, ЛОМО́). Fotokor folding bed, Reporter folding, Efte folding, Komsomolets TLR, Smena 35mm series, Leningrad 35mm rangefinder series and some other cameras were manufactured in GOMZ also.
Krasnogorsky Mekhanichesky Zavod KMZ (Красногорский механический завод = Mechanical Factory of Krasnogorsk), near Moscow. KMZ is known largely for its cameras like Iskra, Kristall, Mir, Moskva , Start, Zenith (early series), Zorki series and some others. Some of these were produced several millions. It also has a large military optics and mechanical engineering division.
Lytkarino Optical Glass Factory (= Лыткаринский завод Оптического Стекла LZOS), in Lytkarino, 100 km north of Moscow. It was a KMZ satellite plant, included in KMZ's production union and the most famous for manufacturing various lenses for KMZ cameras.
Optical-Mechanical Factory Valdai is located about 400km north-west of Moscow. Very little is known of this plant, but it has been a prolific producer of lenses for KMZ, and Zenit BelOMO. The SLR lenses were Helios name.
The Soviet times factory Vileiskiy Zavod Zenit 's new name is Vilejka Factory, or officially Om Rup Zenith. Founded in early 1969 in Vilejka, about 75km north-west of Minsk, as a side plant of MMZ and KMZ to produce Zenit cameras. Vilejka has produced many late Zenit models, like E, TTL, ET, 11, 15, under slightly different designations. Vilejka is apparently still producing Zenits, i.e. Zenit 130.
In 1929 the Council of Labour and Defence of the USSR decided to join all optical and mechanical factories of the era under the same name, "Union Trust opto-mechanical enterprises" (VTOMP), (= Всесоюзный Трест Оптико-Механических предприятий ВТОМП). In 1930 VTOMP name changed as the Union of Optico-Mechanical Companies (VOOMP), (=Всесоюзное объединение оптико-механической промышленности, ВООМП). Under this name a small number of cameras and lenses were produced in the pre-war years, like folder Fotokor-1, VOOMP II Pioneer (one of the first Leica II copies made in the Soviet Union). In the transition times, VOOMP and very early GOMZ logos are seen together on the Fotokor-1 cameras. In 1932 the company was renamed again as "State Optical Mechanical Plant (GOMZ).
|FED factory logo on FED-1; Arsenal factory logo on Kiev-4M; KMZ factory logo on Zorki-1 Images by Süleyman Demir (Image rights)|
|Vilejka factory logo on Zenith ET; Valdai factory logo on Helios 44-M-6 lens of Zenith ET; LZOS factory logo on Green filter on Kristall Images by Süleyman Demir (Image rights)|