The Kalart History.

Where it all started

The Jewish Daily Forward.


Mr. Morris Schwartz worked as a darkroom operator at The New York Times from 1922 to 1926. From then on he worked together with his brother Hyman, at the Jewish Daily Forward in New York as a photographer until 1931, before starting his career as a camera manufacturer. Following his tenure at the Jewish Daily Forward, Mr. Schwartz founded the Kalart Company, which manufactured photography products. The company won an award of excellence from President Lyndon Johnson.

He became the inventor of the Kalart Range finder with an 8th grade education. Mr. Schwartz died on October 22 in 2004 in his home in Laguna Woods, California and is survived by a son, Charles Schwartz, three grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and his brother Hy Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz was born in Russia in 1901 and came to America in 1906 with his parents.


Mr. Morris Schwartz's first invention in 1930.

Thanks to Mr. Hy Schwartz who supplied me with several interesting details.

Morris Schwartz started his photographic career in the dark rooms of the NY Times night shift while in the daytime conducting his own free lance commercial and news photography business. In 1930 he invented the first photoflash synchronizer and started manufacturing them. They were a family of 8 and every one of them except mother was employed there. Their farther KALman SchwARTz lent his name to form The Kalart name which was at one time in the photo industry as popular and respected as Kodak. In his lifetime Morris earned over 100 U S Patents covering many photo and AV products

The Kalart Flash Synchronizer was invented by Morris Schwartz in 1930. The Kalart Rangefinder and the Focuspot in 1936. From 1930 thru 1945, Kalart was busy making military products for the government including thousands of rangefinders for speed Graphics under subcontract to Graflex. During this time Mr. Morris Schwartz was designing the Kalart camera. Ed Kaprelian was head of the Signal Corp photo lab in Ft. Monmouth NJ and after the war joined Kalart as chief engineer and contributed to the production planning of the Kalart Camera. Mr. Hy Schwartz was the Vice President of the Kalart Company in charge of sales. Mr. Morris Schwartz died in 2004 at the age of 103 and during his life time received over 100 patents for photo and audiovisual products as well as the prestigious Sprague Award (the highest award given by the National Press Photographers Association)

The Kalart Camera was designed by men who started their business careers as Photographers, not as camera manufacturers. As such their knowledge of cameras and camera limitations was initiated and developed in terms of practical picture taking. In designing and producing this Kalart Camera, their only goal was to overcome the technical handicaps that beset the photographer in that period of time directly after World War II.

The first product of the young Kalart Company was the Kalart Speed Flash. This flash helped the professional photographer to minimize the problem of insufficient light and incorrect exposure. Next in order was the famous Kalart Synchronized Prism Range Finder for instant, automatic, exact focus, eliminating the necessity for ground glass or guess focusing. This product was followed with the Kalart Focuspot make night focusing as speedy and accurate as day focusing with the Kalart Range Finder.

The Kalart Range Finder can be found on practically every Press camera during and after World War II.

Even on the pre war imported German cameras, the Kalart Range Finder often was available as an accessory.

The Focuspot was the third invention to help the professional photographer to focus even in difficult circumstances.

The Focuspot mounted on  top of the Kalart Rangefinder. The light of the built in bulb is partly reflected by the mirror and partly by the prism and thus projecting the tread of the bulb on the subject. While focusing the lower thread and the upper thread will come together and the camera is in focus.

Kalart company Rangefinder production.

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