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LC-A Big Book Chapter 6: Production in Full Swing

Bustling activity was under way In the depths of the LOMO PLC factory. The LOMO LC-A main construction team, consisting of Mr. Kholomyansky, Mr. Belushkln, Mr. Agrest and Mr. Denlsov, checked and rechecked all the functions of the LOMO LC-A while the design team worked on the cover plate of the camera and Olga Tsvetkova prepared the production and assembling halls.

LOMO PLC
The St Petersburg based optical factory was founded in 1914 in preparation for World War I. By 1930 the company had produced its first photo camera, the FOTOKOR, and continued producing photo and cinema equipment. They focused on mass-producing cheap and easily constructable cameras. In the early 1990s the production of photo and cinema equipment stopped as the company’s focus shifted to other fields of optical production. The only photo camera that stayed in production after 1994 was the LOMO LC-A. Other well known LOMO PLC cameras include the Lubitel and the Smena. up to the present day, LOMO PLC concentrates mainly on producing optical goods for industrial (lasers, microscopes, telescopes) and military purposes and is know worldwide for their excellent optical products in the fields of science, space and the military. www.lomo.ru

Bustling activity was under way In the depths of the LOMO PLC factory. The LOMO LC-A main construction team, consisting of Mr. Kholomyansky, Mr. Belushkln, Mr. Agrest and Mr. Denlsov, checked and rechecked all the functions of the LOMO LC-A while the design team worked on the cover plate of the camera and Olga Tsvetkova prepared the production and assembling halls. Everything had to run smoothly: production of the individual parts had to operate at full speed, the assemblers learned piecemeal the individual production steps of the assembly, and the optical and electronic functions had to be perfectly aligned. In order to ensure speedy production of the first ever fully automatic cameras in Russia, Olga came up with a clever idea. While Kholomyansky and his team constructed the camera, she had already ensured that plans for the creation of the Individual parts were sent up to the mass production department Thus, the moulds for more than 450 Individual parts of the LOMO LC-A were able to be designed In advance and also tile electronic components were able to be ordered and made ready.

The electronic components presented a particular problem. as was the case in the early 1980s in the Soviet Union. For example, no flexible circuit boards were obtainable and even the normal type of circuit boards (the green thing which the electronics sit on) were imported from Japan. The coating for the boards came from Sweden and many other small electronic components were also produced outside of St Petersburg. In total the circuit board was built from 26 different parts and each had to be perfectly assembled and aligned.

Not only with this first implementation of electronic parts had the production of the LOMO LC-A altered a great deal in comparison with previous methods of camera production. Mass production along the lines of Henry Ford was also introduced into the halls of LOMO PLC. This meant that each individual assembler only constructed one specific piece of the camera and then the “final assembler” built the whole camera from these pieces.

One of these final assemblers was a certain Igor, who today repairs cameras In the repair shop of the Lomographlc Embassy in St Petersburg (but more about that later). Whereas Igor had himself assembled complete "Leningrad’ cameras In the 1950s from the Individual parts, he fitted together the LOMO LC-A from prefabricated assemblies. Difficult functions, such as the camera aperture or the lens were manufactured In separate departments with up to ten workers. Using this operation method, (on a good day) Igor screwed together up to 40 LOMO LC·A’s. He also welcomed this new system because in addition to his strictly controlled salary he received a bonus for each camera manufactured which meant he could afford one or more extra holidays at the company owned Neva Sanatorium on the Black Sea Coast.

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written by cruzron

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