The Argus C-Four takes center stage in this promotional video for Argus Cameras. The narrator intones, "It takes three things to make a fine camera . . ." and with that launches into a highly technical and detailed description of every step in the camera-manufacturing process at Argus Cameras of Ann Arbor. Scenes of the scientists and craftsmen creating the Argus C-Four are interwoven with scenes of customers using the camera to take family photos and outdoor shots. The easy-to-use, lightweight Argus cameras revolutionized photography, essentially creating "popular photography." Enjoy this pre-Mad Men video, visit AADL's Argus Camera online exhibit and take a walk over to the Argus Museum for even more Argus history.
It is hard to overstate the breadth and speed of the transition to defense manufacturing that occurred in the United States during World War II. America went from building cars to tanks, farm equipment to bazookas, three-piece suits to combat uniforms. Locally, companies like American Broach, Ford Motor and Killins Gravel took on defense contracts and hired thousands of workers to support the "Arsenal of Democracy" that was Michigan in the 1940s. Argus Camera had a unique role, inventing and manufacturing new optical equipment that sighted guns, photographed enemy installations and recorded the war. Argus became one of the largest employers in Washtenaw County, bringing an unprecedented number of women into the skilled labor force and creating a social fabric within the company and the community that would last for generations. This video, produced after World War II, recounts the "miracle of production" that earned Argus several E Awards for excellence in design and manufacture of war-related materiel. The video captures the post-war economic optimism while paying tribute to the soldiers, inventors and labor that became known as the Greatest Generation. Visit AADL's Argus Camera online exhibit or take a walk over to the Argus Museum for even more Argus history.