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Tougodo Hobix
France Version française
Photos by Sylvain Halgand text by Sylvain Halgand. From the collection of Sylvain Halgand. Last update 2022-11-07 par Sylvain Halgand.

Manufactured or assembled in Japan from (Circa) 1950 to (After) 1950.
Index of rarity in France: Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
Inventory number: 1495

See the complete technical specifications

Chronology of cameras Tougodo 

Not yet translated into English

Cet appareil est un peu plus gros que la production emblématique de Tougodo, les Hit.
La qualité est nettement, nettement supérieure. Tenant sur la paume d'une main, il utilise un format de film très particulier.
Quand on ouvre le dos, une pièce métallique peut se retirer de l'intérieur de l'appareil. Elle occupe la totalité de la largeur et se termine à chaque extrémité par une griffe de maintient en place des bobines. La bobine enrouleuse est également maintenue en place par le bouton d'enroulement, mais la bobine débitrice n'est maintenu que par la griffe de la grosse pièce métallique.
La taille de l'arrière de la chambre noire indique que le négatif fait 24 x 26 mm, mais la largeur des griffes de la pièce métallique n'est pas celle d'une cartouche 135, car elle ne fait que 35 mm de large.

La lecture du Mc Keown nous renseigne sur le fait qu'il s'agit d'un format spécial développé par la marque Miyagawa Seisakusho pour les appareils Boltax.

Tougodo Hobix


Founded in 1930 in the Kanga district of Tokyo by Masamori Nagatsuka and his two brothers, Tanaka Koichi and Toyota Yoshio, the Tougodo brand was named in honor of Admiral Togo, who defeated the Russian Baltic fleet in the Battle of Tsushima in 1905. Both Masamori and the Admiral hailed from the city of Kagoshima. Masami decided to name his cameras "Tougo" after the Admiral.

At the beginning, the cameras were simplistic and even rudimentary in construction: wooden bodies covered with paper, single-speed shutters. These simplistic cameras were then referred to as "Yen cameras". Retailers often saw these cameras as mere toys and were hesitant to sell them, so the company had to buy stores themselves. These cameras used a brand-new system with film for producing 3 x 4 cm images, eliminating the need for a darkroom for development. Although it's believed that a patent was filed for this process, it has not been found. This feature proved to be very successful with customers, leading to a significant increase in sales. It was at this moment that the Imperial Japanese Navy chose to oppose the use of "their" admiral's name for naming the "Yen" cameras. Fearing that a name change for his cameras could jeopardize his company, Masami decided to pay a visit to the admiral, accompanied by his executives, in an attempt to obtain his permission. Likely flattered and perhaps sympathizing with Masamori over shared memories of their childhood in Kagoshima, Admiral Togo not only granted Masamori permission but also an official license. The Imperial Navy had to concede.

In 1934, the company became Togodo Shashin Kogyo-sha. During this time, the company produced its renowned Meikai TLR cameras. Towards the end of the 1930s, the company changed its name again to Togodo Sangyo, with the full name being Togodo Shashin Kogyo K.K.

The Meikai line was succeeded by a 2.8 x 4 cm format, and in 1937, the pinnacle of production was introduced: the beautiful Melsipu, a TLR camera with a left-offset viewfinder.

During World War II, the company contributed to the war effort by producing aircraft parts. Masamori decided to separate his company's operations into three distant sites to safeguard at least a portion of his business in case of bombings. He retained control of the main factory in Tokyo and entrusted his brothers with the leadership of the two relocated factories. The Tokyo factory was completely destroyed in a US bombing raid in February 1944.

In 1945, the three brothers decided to dissolve Togodo Sangyo, and Masamori Nagatsuka decided to leave the company and discontinue his involvement in photography. After the war, two financially struggling companies remained, both using the original Tougodo brand. The first, led by Tanaka Koichi, managed to survive by producing lighters and cigarette packaging. Around 1947, Tanaka decided to continue producing cameras using the same film system. Unable to overcome numerous business challenges in occupied Japan, exacerbated by the unique process of his cameras, he eventually resigned himself to manufacturing technically "ordinary" cameras. Accepted by distributors and importers, his subminiature cameras were quite successful. Several models were produced, culminating in the Hobix using Bolta film in 1948. In 1949, the company changed its name again to Togodo Seisakusho and relocated its headquarters to Tokyo. The company logo then became "TG", with the letter "G" nestled within a larger "T" above a diagram of a double-lens optical setup. In 1952, the company name changed to Togodo Sangyo Y.K, sometimes referred to as Y.K. Togodo or simply Togodo. These names were occasionally preceded by the city name Toyohashi. The company's headquarters address was moved to Toyohashi in 1957, in the Komoguchi province. The company then became Toyohashi Togodo Koki K.K., producing under numerous brands including Hobix, Hobiflex, Homer, and Toyoca. The Toyocaflex TLR 6 x 6 likely holds the record for the most names used across different markets, distributors, and even stores. The company ceased camera production in the mid-1960s.

The second company, led by the youngest of the three brothers, Toyota Yoshio, resumed camera manufacturing. This alternate Togodo company was named K.K. Togodo in 1953. This company reutilized the Meikai brand for its Meikaiflex, a faux TLR, and produced several other models. A commercial distribution company associated with Togodo, called Togodo Shoji K.K., was allegedly founded in 1954 in Tokyo. This company appears to have been prosperous. A completely new company, Yamanashi, was then established. This company reused old Togodo brands, particularly for its series of models named Meisupii. The company then changed its name to Meikai Sangyo and finally produced the basic Meikai EL and ELX cameras.
I apologize, but I don't recall the author of this history.

Cameras from Ebay France (Tougodo) (Uploaded each 3 hours)