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  • Tube of matte bromide Agfa paper. 1940. Manufactured by Agfa Berlin, L.G. Farben Industrie–Aktiencesellschaft in Berlin. 66 x 8.9 cm (26 x 3 1/2") diam. Collection Alison Rossiter

    Germany was the dominant manufacturing force in the photographic industry from before World War I through World War II, with only a short pause between the wars as the country paid heavy reparations. Berlin, the capital of Germany, was home to many important photographic companies, including Neue Photographische Gesellschaft, which was founded in 1894 and taken over in 1931 by the Dresden-based giant Mimosa AG. Many pharmaceutical and chemical dye companies, including Agfa, Bayer, and Schering AG, diversified into the photographic industry during this period. Bayer and Agfa, along with other chemical companies, merged in 1925 to form IG Farbenindustrie AG. This large corporate entity dispersed financial risk among its holdings, creating an overall financial safety net.

    Many German photographic supply companies thrived in Berlin between 1927 and 1930, the most famous of which was Agfa, the only one of these companies that still exists today. Agfa began as a Berlin-based dye and stain maker in 1867 but came to be known for the photographic developer Rodinal and a comprehensive line of camera equipment, film, and photographic papers. Following the example of the Eastman Kodak Company, Agfa’s executives saw the potential for profit in repeat sales of light-sensitive materials. The sale of two million cameras in 1932 produced a significant increase in overall sales and in the use of Agfa film and papers at a time when economic activity elsewhere in Germany seemed to be heading toward a standstill.

    —Lee Ann Daffner


  • 1867–present
    Founded in 1867 as Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation. Presently Agfa-Gevaert N.V.
  • 1891–present
    Bayer Co.

Walther Artists Who Used These Products

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