Company Time Line - History of Rolleiflex, Franke und Heidecke, DHW-Fototechnik

I pulled this time line from one of DHW-Fototechnik's brochures and thought it was interesting.


1920 Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke establish the “Werkstatt für Feinmechanik und Optik – Franke und Heidecke“ in Brunswick, Germany. 

1926 First use of Rollei name in conjunction with Rolleidoscop stereoscopic roll-film camera. 

1928 Presentation of first twin-lens Rolleiflex, a roll-film mirror-reflex camera (10 prototypes). 

1929 Introduction of twin-lens 6 x 6cm Rolleiflex, which for years to come was to have a profound effect not only on camera design in general, but on photography as well. 

1930 Commissioning of new factory in Brunswick, Germany. 

1933 Introduction of Rolleicord camera, a budget-priced version of the Rolleiflex. 

1937 At the Paris World Exhibition, Reinhold Heidecke receives the Grand Prix for outstanding services in camera building (Rolleiflex Automat). 

1956 The one millionth Rolleiflex leaves the factory. 

1959 Presentation of Tele-Rolleiflex with 135mm Zeiss Sonnar f/4. 

1960 Launching of Rollei P11, the world‘s first dual-format projector. 

1961 Introduction of Wide-Angle Rolleiflex with 55mm Zeiss Distagon f/4. 

1963 Launching of Rollei 16, the first camera not designed for the use of roll film. 

1966 Presentation of Rolleiflex SL66 (first single-lens 6 x 6cm camera by Rollei). Presentation of Rollei 35 at photokina. In the following three decades, about three million cameras of this type would be sold. 

1967 Start of production of automatic computer flash units. 

1968 The P35 marks the entry into the slide-projector market. 

1970 Launch of first 35mm reflex camera, the Rolleiflex SL35. 

1973 Introduction of Rollei P66A as first automatic 6 x 6cm projector. 

1974 World première of Rolleiflex SLX. The first electronic medium-format camera system was the precursor of today‘s Rolleiflex 6000 System. 

1976 Presentation of the P3800 dissolve projector – the precursor of Rolleivision Twin MSC-300 Projectors. 

1980 Presentation of SL2000F as the first 35mm reflex camera with interchangeable magazines, double viewfinder system and integral motor drive. 

1982 Rollei Fototechnic GmbH is established. 

1986 Introduction of Rolleivision 66 AV as a professional 6 x 6cm slide projector. The same year saw the launching of the RolleiMetric System opening up new perspectives in close-range surveying. 

1987 Revival of world-renowned twin-lens reflexes with Rolleiflex 2.8 GX with TTL exposure and flash metering. 

1988 Presentation of Rolleiflex 6008 as a leading medium-format camera. 

1991 The Digital ScanPack marks Rollei‘s entry into digital photography. The Prego AF is the first modern compact Rollei camera with AF. 

1993 The new generation of Rolleivision Twin MSC-300 dissolve projectors gets ready for marketing. 

1994 Expansion of Digital Imaging System with high-speed ChipPack Back. 

1995 Presentation of Rolleiflex 6008 Integral, the most advanced 6 x 6cm medium-format professional camera. 

1996 Another important addition to digital photography, the DSP-104 Digital Back. 

1998 At photokina, presentation of compact X-Act2 monorail-camera system. With the nano models, ASP are included in the line of cameras. 

2000 The company has been in existence for 80 years. 

2001 Introduction of five new compact cameras as well as of AFM 35, a new series of dissolve projectors and new digital cameras. 

2002 Extension of product line by six new compact cameras, the digital Rollei d530 flex reflex camera, the Rolleiflex 6008 AF (as the first 6 x 6cm medium-format camera with autofocus) and a new 35mm camera. In addition, presentation of Rollei 35 RF (rangefinder camera) and Rolleiflex 4.0 FW (Wide-Angle Rolleiflex) at photokina. 

2003 Expansion of line of digital cameras. 

2004 New positioning of company under „The New Rollei“ slogan. In addition to several new digital cameras, MP3 players are part of the product line up. Rollei-Produktion GmbH founded as a separate company for professional medium-format cameras and projectors. 

2005 Re-establishment of Franke und Heidecke GmbH, from Rollei Produktion GmbH at Brunswick production site. 

2006 Rollei GmbH concentrates exclusively on digital cameras and multimedia products and moves its seat to Berlin. Franke & Heidecke develops new problem solutions for professional users, organizes sales and for the first time exhibits at 2006 photokina. Product-Highlight: Rolleiflex Hy6. 

2007 Like its sister models Sinar, Hy6 and Leaf AFi, the Rolleiflex Hy6 is manufactured in series. 

New focal lengths are available as interchangeable lenses. 

2008 Franke & Heidecke supplies the new cameras to its distribution and cooperation partners. Presentation of new lenses and accessories for Rolleiflex Hy6 at photokina. 

2009 DHW Fototechnik is established.

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