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The tower silhouette of the Ernemann-Werke served as the logo of the VEB Pentacon
Ernemann advertisement in the magazine Jugend , 1911

The Ernemann-Werke AG was a renowned company for the production of photographic and film cameras and projectors , based in Dresden .


Ernoflex, 1923–27, in the Technikmuseum Berlin


The merchant Heinrich Ernemann , who had lived in Dresden since 1876 and came from Eichsfeld , took part in Wilhelm Franz Matthias's camera joinery in Pirnaer Strasse in Dresden in 1889. The name of the joint company was "Dresdner photographic apparatus factory Ernemann & Matthias". After Matthias left the company in 1891, Ernemann moved the company from Güterbahnhofstrasse 10 to Kaulbachstrasse in 1892.

Production of cameras

Ernemann Chronos B.

The following years were marked by an expansion of the company and frequent changes of the operating rooms. At that time, the company was already producing several types of cameras for which patents were pending. In 1898 the company moved to the Ernemann-Werke , a new factory building on Schandauer Strasse. In 1899 the company was transformed into "Heinrich Ernemann, Aktiengesellschaft für Camerafabrikation in Dresden". In the same year Ernemann acquired the company "Ernst Herbst & Firl, factory of photographic apparatus" in Görlitz . In 1903 the well-known trademark , the goddess of light, appeared for the first time , which all Ernemann products carried until the end of 1920.

Production of film projectors

Film projector Imperator, around 1910, Technical Collections Dresden
The Ermanox with the Ernostar 1: 2

When his son Alexander Ernemann (1878–1956) joined the camera factory, the production of film projectors became a further focus. In 1908 Ernemann AG manufactured its first own lenses ( Ernar , Ernoplast ), which had previously been obtained from the optical institute CP Goerz AG Berlin and Carl Zeiss Jena. The following year, the company manufactured the 35 mm "Imperator" projector, probably the most successful film projector before the First World War . In 1917 the name was changed to "Ernemann-Werke AG in Dresden". In 1920, Ernemann entered into an interest group with Friedrich Krupp AG . The resulting "Krupp-Ernemann Kinoapparate AG" dealt with the manufacture and sale of film projectors. The cooperation was expressed in a new trademark: The previously used trademark, the goddess of light, was replaced by a three-part Maltese cross gear on the three Krupp rings.

All Ernemann products have since used the new logo. In 1923 the existing factory building in Schandauer Straße was moved into, the tower silhouette of which later featured the VEB Pentacon logo . Since then, the building has housed the Dresden Technical Collections . ( Map )

In the Ernemann record factory founded in Bannewitz in 1919, large photographic plates for the cameras were produced from 1920 to around 1928 in a chemical factory built in 1907 as a straw bleaching plant by the businessman Hans Feldhaus. In 1938 the production of the 35 mm normal tone film projector "Ernemann VIIB" started here. This device quickly became a bestseller, was exported worldwide and copied many times. Machines of this series were built until the 1970s and can still be found in cinemas due to their enormous durability.

Since the 1950s, Zeiss-Ikon AG produced film projectors with the brand name Ernemann, the further developments of the "Ernemann VIIB" (models Ernemann VIII, VIIIb, IX, X, 12). Since 1999 the "Ernemann CineTec GmbH", based in Kiel , has been producing film projectors whose model series were also called Ernemann (since 2005 "Ernemann 14", since 2007 "Ernemann 18"). She had the brand name registered with the German Patent and Trademark Office (dpma) under the number 300701. On February 28, 2013, the trademark was deleted in accordance with Section 47 of the Trademark Protection Act.


One of the most important achievements of the plant in the field of the construction of photographic apparatus is the production of the Ermanox camera in 1924 , which became known in particular through the work of the photo journalist Erich Salomon . Ludwig Bertele developed the Ernostar lens for the Ermanox in 1923 . With a light intensity of 1: 2, it was the fastest mass-produced lens in the world at the time. The Ermanox enabled the photographers to work under conditions that were previously technically unmanageable, for example at night or during theater performances. In the following year, the speed of the Ernostar lens could be further improved to 1: 1.8.

Fusion with Zeiss-Ikon

In 1926 the "Ernemann-Werke" merged with the optical institute CP Goerz , the ICA and the Contessa-Nettel to form Zeiss Ikon . This ended the history of the family business after 37 years. Heinrich Ernemann was a member of the supervisory board of the newly created company. Since Ernemann was an established name with a very good reputation, some Ernemann brands were taken over by Zeiss Ikon and continued for several years. It was especially true for the cinema sector. The optical institute C. P. Goerz and Ernemann had to undertake not to manufacture any more lenses, but to purchase them from Carl Zeiss in Jena. In 1947 the Dresden plant was expropriated by order of the Soviet occupying power and later transferred to a state-owned company .

Film projectors (selection)


  • Peter Göllner: Ernemann Cameras. The history of the Dresden Photo-Kino-Werk. With a catalog of the most important products. Wittig Fachbuchverlag, Hückelhoven 1995, ISBN 3-930359-29-4 .
  • Klaus-D. Müller: Ernemann Dresden 1892–1926: Photographica library. Volume 4. Book on Demand, Norderstedt 2009, ISBN 978-3-8391-2440-6 .
  • Kirsten Vincenz et al. (Ed.): Photo industry and worlds of images. Heinrich Ernemann AG for camera production in Dresden 1889–1926. Verlag Christof Kerber, Bielefeld 2008, ISBN 978-3-86678-207-5 .
  • Dorit Oehme: When the chimneys smoked in Bannewitz. The Ernemann-Werke produced photo plates in Bannewitz. In: Sächsische Zeitung Freital, June 16, 2016