Prototype 'Leica' camera, 1913.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Reproduction made by the German camera manufacturer Leitz. Oskar Barnack (1879-1936) developed this, the prototype for the first small commercial Leica camera between 1912 and 1914, whilst he was head of the experimental department at Leitz. The camera was fitted with a helical focusing lens in a collapsible mount and a focal plane shutter of the roller blind type. Although Leitz had never produced cameras for the general market they had a considerable reputation for producing high quality optical instruments. The revolutionary Leica was eventually launched on the market in 1925.