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Ihagee (Industrie- und Handelsgesellschaft) was a German camera maker, now mostly known for its 35 mm SLR cameras. The company was founded in 1912 by Johan Steenbergen, a Dutch merchant. He had received his training at Ernemann in Dresden.
The company started by producing conventional folding roll film and plate cameras. By 1918, the German economy was in serious trouble and so was Ihagee. It was liquidated and set up again. By 1925, Ihagee produced 1,000 roll film cameras a day.
In 1933 the Exakta A was presented. It was a single lens reflex and was greeted with scepticism. This Exakta took 3×6.5cm pictures on 127 film. The Exakta line was to become Ihagee's major success. In 1936 its most famous camera, the Kine Exakta was presented at the Leipziger Messe. This was the first SLR to take pictures on 35 mm film. From the beginning the 35 mm Exakta was a system camera, offering interchangeable lenses, finders, microscope adaptors and plate film backs.
By 1940 camera production ceased because of the war and Steenbergen, a Dutch national, transferred ownership rights in the company to trusted partners and employees because of xenophobia in Germany.