February 1942 is the official year of birth of the KMZ factory. The year 1992 thus gave KMZ the opportunity to
produce several commemorative cameras.
It was actually 1941 that saw the beginning of what was to become one of the worlds most important manufacturing,
units of optical mechanical equipment.
The "Optical Products" workshop was formed by ministerial decision, as a result of the restructuring of several former workshops in
Moscow, with their engineers and semi-skilled workers. Amongst them, formerly from the firm EFTE, was E.V.Soloviev who became the chief
engineer-project manager of the KMZ factory in about 1959 and designed the FT1, FT3 and Horizont.
A former earthenware factory situated at Krasnogorsk, (from Russian - the "pretty hill" or the "red hill"), in the western suburbs of
Moscow was to house the new workshop.
On 22nd June, 1941, in breach of the German-Russian pact, the Nazi troops invaded the USSR. Within a few weeks the
Germans were at the gates of Moscow and the Wehrmacht motorcyclists on the Volokolamka highway could make out the Kremlin through
The German army would not advance from this spot, near... Krasnogorsk.
November 1941, the battle of Moscow. At the beginning of December the Soviets launched a counter-attack and the
Germans retreated to 250km away.
From the spring the "Optical Products" workshops were evacuated as were more than 1,300 firms of the Russian industrial fabric into
the Ural and Siberia.
The firm was evacuated to the suburbs of Sverdlovsk.
Throughout 1942 the German threat no longer hung over Moscow. Several firms, including the workshop, were recalled.
It was probably at this time that it became KMZ, Krasnogorski Mekhanicheskii Zavod - Mechanical Engineering Factory of Krasnogorsk -
with, as its logo, a single prism that the factory's workforce soon nicknamed "the tomb".
The forces desperately needed optical equipment, binoculars, rangefinders, sights, etc… Leningrad was under siege, neither GOMZ nor
GOI could supply the army. FED in Berdsk was producing aircraft parts. It fell to KMZ to take the military orders.
Let us remember that in June 1945 the Soviet Union had three seats at the United Nations: Russia, the Ukraine and Belorussia.
In the geopolitical hope of making people, especially in the West, believe in the relative autonomy of the republics, Stalin
supported the establishment of "status-enhancing" firms in the capitals of these republics.
Civil optics was one such sector.
Hence the creation of KIEV-ARSENAL in the Ukraine as a manufacturer in 1946, then MlNSK-MMZ in Belorussia in 1957.
1946. The KMZ factory was soon ready to start production. The enthusiasm of the workers, especially the female
workforce was quite remarkable. The help from the Germans was invaluable.
The first cameras to be supplied were the MOSKVA 1, in fact the firsts were Zeiss Nettars just assembled in Krasnogorsk, then the
MOSKVA 2, Soviet Super Ikontas. With the help of equipment of FED origin, KMZ presented the first FED-KMZ at the beginning of 1948,
Right from the outset the engineers and fitters endeavored to produce a camera with a perfect finish.
In 1949 the design-group made up of Gavriov, Denisov and Korolkov finalized a new release mechanism on the case.
The ZQRKI had just been born.
If one: included all the ZORKI models, more than 4.5 million cameras were to be made and delivered, and more than 6 million basic
lenses, Industar-22 and Industar-50, Jupiter-8 and Jupiter-3.
From 1950 to 1960 production levels increased and the range of lenses complemented the original "Zeiss" lens. KMZ
supplied, as well as the mounts for its own cases, the 39 screw-mount lenses for the GOMZ LENINGRAD cameras and bayonet mount lenses
for the KIEV ARSENAL cameras.
From 1955 KIEV produced its own lenses.
In 1956 the millionth Industar lens was assembled.