Revere Camera Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Revere Camera Company
FateAcquired by 3M
Founded1920 (1920) in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
FounderSamuel Briskin
Defunct1960 (1960)
Chicago, Illinois
ProductsMovie cameras, projectors

The Revere Camera Company was started in 1920 by Samuel Briskin, who also started Wollensak Recorders and Opticals.


Founded in 1920 in Chicago, Illinois, as the Excel Auto Radiator Company by Ukrainian immigrant Samuel Briskin to manufacture car radiators, but started manufacturing some coarse household products later in the decade. They started making budget 8 mm movie cameras in 1939 through a subsidiary run by Briskin's sons. That company was later merged into Excel Auto Radiator Co. which then changed its name to Revere Camera Co. The Revere name is taken from the Revere Copper Company, which provided financial backing for Excel during the depression.

In the 1950s, the company was the second largest manufacturer of small movie cameras in the United States. In order to grow that business further the company took over their primary lens and shutter supplier, New Jersey-based Wollensak Optical Co. The Revere brand name had become synonymous with budget cameras; soon after the take-over Wollensak models appeared that were mechanically almost-identical to the standard Revere models but had better lenses, more stylish casing, and sold for a premium price.

Revere started manufacturing tape recorders in the early 1950s, that side of the business never became an important part of the company's output.

Revere, starting probably in the 1950s, also produced a fairly high quality rotary tool very much like the Dremel tools now on the market. The Revere-O-Matic was a 0.55 ampere model that operated at 15,000 r.p.m. (Model No. RG-1). All the tools that attached to it via the chuck can be used with today's Dremel models. The standard package also came with a table mounting device and a system for enabling creation of identical objects, also adaptable to today's Dremel with no modification required.

Samuel Briskin was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in 1960 and rather than leave the company to his family he decided to sell the company to 3M for $17 million (equivalent to $144 million in 2018).[1][2]


  1. ^ "Revere Camera Company". Defunct Companies. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  2. ^ "3-M May Buy Briskin Firms". Billboard. July 4, 1960. p. 18. ISSN 0006-2510.

External links[edit]