Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/03/22

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Canada build vs German build
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 21:29:50 EST

Here it is, direct from the glasses' mouth, Fall 2001 issue of Leicaview, 
published by Leica USA, adapted in turn from an interview with Norbert  
Meinert, last manager of the Leitz Glass Factory:

"The Leitz Glass Laboratory ....operated until 1989......Overall, the Leitz 
Glass Laboratory developed 35 new glasses from an estimated 50,000 
experimental melts.....Without the laboratory, in fact, most of the modern 
lenses of the period 1949 to 1989 would not have been possible. Because of 
its work, the company produced up to 10 metric tons of glass a year, partly 
because of close communication between glass researchers and lens designers. 
Other large glass manufacturers were often behind Leita/Leica because optical 
glass is of only minor importance to them. Phototropic glasses, construction 
glasses, television tubes, baby bottles and the like are their real 
moneymakers. When these companies do undertake to develop optical glasses, it 
is only for those for which they anticipate a large demand. It was the exotic 
wishes of the Leitz Company that permitted it to develop the glasses it did 
during the 40 years it held sway in this area.

"Once it was possible with new technology to derive maximum performance from 
optical lenses, however, Leica closed the Leitz Glass Laboratory. The growing 
number of glass manufacturers and new Methods of processing glass and 
manufacturing lens elements also made this desirable from a financial 

A marvelous and indeed glorious history. One must nevertheless wonder at the 
last sentences.They seem to read: it was no longer economically feasible to 
keep the Leitz/Leica Glass Laboratory operating in terms of a cost-benefit 
analysis. Entirely understandable in today's tough, competitive world.

Yet what splendid achievements they recorded! And what wonderful lenses they 
continue today to design and produce with glass manufactured by third parties.

Seth         LaK 9      (while we're on glass, has everyone gotten my 
signature? It's glass-related).

In a message dated 3/20/02 5:58:04 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> -- wwk001 <> wrote:
>  > The question is wrong fundamentally. Leica doesn't not
>  > make glasses of their
>  > own.
>  > 
>  > Frank W.
>  ============================================================
>      to the best of my knowlege, this is not true.  Unless
>  it was sold off during the breakup, Leitz/Leica owned all
>  or part of a glassworks as a subsidiary.
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