Emil Wünsche started a photography store in 1887 with the name Bedarfsartikel für Fach- und Amateurphotographen in Dresden. He sold rebranded cameras of Hüttig and products from the companies he acquired earlier. From 1896 he produced his own photography products. His first camera was the Mars Kamera for 12 x 16,5cm glass plates. He built a factory in the Reick district of Dresden. The factory was severely damaged by a fire in 1898. The business became a public company and was renamed Emil Wünsche Aktiengesellschaft für photographische Industrie Reick (Emil Wünsche AG). With the accumulated capital he built a new larger and modern factory.
From 1896 the company published a monthly photo magazine with the name Der Lichtbildkünstler (The Photo Artist). The magazine featured Wünsche's products and articles on photography. 55,000 copies were printed each month from 1900.
In 1902, Wünsche AG was the second largest camera manufacturer in Dresden after Hüttig, but Emil Wünsche had personal and financial problems and he took his own life in the same year.
The business continued and Wünsche AG merged in 1909 with Hüttig AG, Kamerawerk Dr. Krügener and Carl Zeiss Palmos AG to the new International Camera Actiengesellschaft (ICA).
Wünsche produced 400 different camera models in different variants up to 1909. The original factory buildings were destroyed during the bombing of Dresden in February 1945.
The Reicka Camera
The Reicka is a folding plate camera that supports 10 x 15cm glass plate negatives. The camera is named after the Reick district where Emil Wünsche's factory was located. My model is a stereo camera but the Reicka was also available with a single lens for taking panorama photos and there was a model with three lenses that could take both stereo photos and panorama photos. This camera has two Dr. Staeble anastigmatic lenses. The front panel with the lenses can be moved up vertically and shifted left and right to control the perspective of the image.
The camera's features:
- Two Dr. Staeble Werk München doppel anastigmat lenses with a focal length of 105mm
- Seven diaphragm settings: f/5.9, f/9, f/12,5, f/16, f/18, f/25 and f/36
- Eight shutter speed settings from 1/200 to 1sec.
- Reversible viewfinder at the upper right of the lens panel
Emil Wünsche's stereo cameras are quite rare these days. This model is in good condition with clean nikkel parts, a working shutter and diaphragm blades. The camera has no serial number and it dates from c1907 - 1908. The camera was continued after Wünsche AG merged into ICA and was labeled ICA Stereo Reicka.
- Zeiss and Photography, Lawrence J. Gubas, 2015
- Geschichte der Dresdner Fotoindustrie, Herbert Blumtritt, 2000