Wollensak was the premium manufacturer of great lenses for professional and amateur filmmakers and photographers in midcentury America. It was for this reason that Ted Briskin of the Revere Camera company bought out this iconic brand in 1950.
Revere movie cameras had featured well respected Wollensak lenses for decades and the merger proved a great combination. They began manufacturing premium movie cameras using superior components and heavy-duty aluminum bodies featuring the lenses and aerospace wing symbols as dials. True works of art and engineering.
Wollensak was founded in 1899 by Andrew Wollensak in Rochester, NY to produce camera shutters for large format cameras. They engineered a combined shutter and lens that was groundbreaking in speed and accuracy. They created the Fastax high-speed camera most notably known as the slow-motion camera used to capture nuclear weapons tests.
This led the company to specialize in lenses and shutters for the burgeoning movie camera market. Wollensak cinematic lenses were considered the best for decades. They were bought out by the Revere Camera Co. in the early 1950s. It is then that Revere began producing 8mm cameras with the Wollensak name. These were high-end cameras with the best lens available. They sold for twice the cost of the Revere brand cameras. The Briskens never fully combined the companies and the Wollensak operations remained in Rochester, NY.
Wollensak also made audio recording gear including reel-to-reel tape and 8-track recording equipment. The 3M company bought Revere Camera Co. including Wollensak in 1960. They continued to manufacturer and sell equipment until 1972.