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LC-A Big Book Chapter 60: Back to the Roots: Military Production and Expansion

It was not easy for LOMO PLC to enter the free market. Previously its products had always been in demand as there were no alternatives on the market. No marketing was ever needed due to the precise planning of the Five Year Plans. The Ministry of Defence and Industry even had a waiting list for LOMO PLC’s products as demand always exceeded supply. Now these days were over.

65. Microscopes are one of the last consumer orientated products that LOMO PLC actively produces today.

It was not easy for LOMO PLC to enter the free market. Previously its products had always been in demand as there were no alternatives on the market. No marketing was ever needed due to the precise planning of the Five Year Plans. The Ministry of Defence and Industry even had a waiting list for LOMO PLC’s products as demand always exceeded supply. Now these days were over.

In the warehouse, there was a huge backlog of finished products, the workshops were full of old equipment, and there were thousands of employees who were used to getting wages twice a month. The company’s future remained uncertain, despite the continuing production of optical and mechanical devices for the military and the volume of export deliveries for defence products, which almost reached 50% in 1994. Customers at this time were countries such as Germany, Great Britain, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

67. Aleksandr Solomonovich Khitrik is the head of development of night vision devices. He also invented the LOMO LC-A nightvision device which was never produced.

Despite the great troubles that the country was undergoing (recession of production, state crisis, inflation, enormous interest rates for bank-loans), LOMO PLC fought its way through and overcame the most difficult phase of its history. By 1998 the volume of exported products had increased by four and LOMO PLC started to produce over 200 models of various different microscopes specifically for the American market. More and more, the company came closer to their objective of attracting foreign customers and increased exports to countries such as Austria (we expect you can guess what was exported there), Great Britain, Israel, Italy, China, New Zealand and Iran. Besides its optical devices for military uses, its microscopes, telescopes, lasers, endoscopes (to see what’s going on inside cows, horses and ourselves!), equipment for brain surgery and many other instruments, LOMO PLC has established its secret labs for the assembling of night-vision gadgets. These little devices allow you to see in the dark and in places where no one else can see anything. They became world famous for their quality and sharpness and are nowadays considered to be the new “business cards” of the company, as the camera production has ceased. The most famous model is the “ELF”, which is the smallest night-vision device ever made – it was also the model for a LOMO LC-A night-vision kit, headed by the Lomographic Society in 2001, that unfortunately never made it into final production.

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written by ungrumpy

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Spanish, Français & Deutsch.