16 EMMA STREET. BINGHAMTON, NY
ANSCO CAMERA FACTORY
WHERE MODERN LUXURY MEETS ICONIC HISTORY
The Ansco is a historic-mixed-use building with 100 modern luxury lofts and commercial space located just minutes from Downtown Binghamton, Binghamton University’s Johnson City campus, and United Health Services Johnson City campus. We take our name from the famous camera company that operated within the building for over 40 years. The rehabilitation of this historic site creates a new beginning for one of the county’s most prominent industrial assets from the 20th century. The Ansco Camera Factory building shows a viable path towards a continued era of positive growth for Binghamton in the 21st century
JOIN US IN BRINGING THIS HISTORIC FACTORY BACK TO LIFE!
THE LIVE SMART LOFT
WE CREATED A UNIT WITH ALL THE SOPHISTICATION AND LUXURY AT A SIZE THAT WILL FIT ANY BUDGET.
500 SF NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD
OVER 150 YEARS OF MAKING HISTORY.
WHAT IS AN ANSCO?
Ansco was the first manufacturer of photographic materials and a global leader in the camera industry with their base of operations in Binghamton, NY. The company made a huge impact on the world of film, photography, cinema, and even several wars. We hope that this very brief history through images will convey the impact that Ansco had both technologically and socially. And why we felt so strongly about restoring…
THE LAST REMAINING ANSCO CAMERA FACTORY.
ANSCO PREDATES KODAK IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS.
Edward Anthony founded E. Anthony & Co, in NYC to sell photography products. By 1850, Anthony was supplying the US Government with the first photographs used by any government for any purpose. His brother, Henry, is credited with the first “instantaneous” photograph.
making AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY
THE FIRST AERIAL PHOTOS WERE TAKEN BY DARING PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM HOT AIR BALLOONS.
Anthony made the materials used to take this photo, the first aerial photograph, a shot of the Boston Harbor.
the first portable camera
PRIOR TO THE SCHMIDT CAMERA USERS HAD TO USE A TRIPOD.
The first “detective cameras” the most compact and convenient cameras of this period, were marketed by Anthony & Co. and became early forerunners of modern personal cameras.
Introduction to binghamton
A GROWING CITY OF 39,647 WITH A STRONG WORKFORCE.
The Anthony & Scovill Company acquired the Westcott Paper Co. in Binghamton and moved their paper and film production there because of the abundant supply of 52° well-water needed for making photographic emulsion.
RAIL and factories
THE LIFE BLOOD OF BINGHAMTON.
The construction of rail lines in the late 19th century spurred the growth of numerous factories in Broome County. The Erie Railroads and Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (D.L. & W.) rail lines provided transport for manufactured goods from Binghamton to the rest of the country. The new factories spurred construction of stores and residences in the surrounding neighborhoods in west Binghamton and Johnson City.
ANTHONY & SCOVILL SHORTEN THEIR NAME TO BECOME ANSCO
FIRES IN NYC PROMPTED A MOVE TO BINGHAMTON AND A COMPANY RE-BRANDING.
After the move to Binghamton, Ansco replaced many old buildings with fire resistant designs. Over the next few years, Ansco acquired 10 more lots and rapidly expanded the production of cameras, films, and other photography equipment.
INNOVATION IN FLEXIBLE FILM
ANSCO PURCHASED THE PATENT TO PRODUCE FLEXIBLE ROLL FILM.
However, Eastman Kodak Company copied the design and nearly bankrupted Ansco. Kodak was found guilty of patent infringement for replicating the process and had to pay Ansco $5 million in damages. They distributed $2 million to stockholders and invested the remaining funds into the construction of a production plant for flexible films.
a month of global significance
In June the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Serbia, setting into motion the events leading to WWI.
Just days before, two Ansco employees made the largest negative in the world. A 17’ long by 16” wide panorama of the Atlanta skyline. They climbed to the top of a smokestack to capture the historic shot. By 1916, the official corporate headquarters was moved from NYC to Binghamton.
the Automatic ANSCO
Designed by Carl Bornmann.
It featured a key-wound spring motor to automatically advance the film when the shutter is released. The camera carried a hefty price tag, so later that year they released the Semi-Automatic Ansco (right) with a separate lever on the side for advancing the film.
THE GREAT DEPRESSION
Ansco was having difficulty competing with Kodak during the Great Depression.
As a result they formulated a strategic merger with Agfa, a German film company. This not only allowed them to stay in Binghamton, but the combined resources and research make them an instant international player in the camera and film industry.
6 emma street
Original home of the General Cigar Company.
The nation’s largest cigar manufacturer opened the largest cigar factory building in the world, adjacent to the rail lines, at 16 Emma Street. The manufacturer brought years of economic prosperity, but it closed abruptly with the Great Depression. The building is an exceptional example of early twentieth century industrial architecture. However, its real significance is that it is associated with two of Binghamton’s most important industries, the cigar manufacturing trade and the camera and film industry.
By the 1930’s, the company really hit a stride opening numerous facilities around the city including a massive new plant that was the largest building in Binghamton.
and the winner is...
Ansco won an award from the motion picture Academy of Arts for their research in infra-red film and an Oscar for their films Agfa supreme and Agfa ultra speed for motion pictures.
SPECIAL PRODUCTS DIVISION
The former cigar building at 6 Emma St (that’s us!) was purchased to add a local production facility focused on the creation of specialized products.
dedication to employee satisfaction
Ansco is well known for their commitment to their employees.
They are credited with establishing one of the first and most successful employee benefits programs that became a model for other companies. In 1938, they purchased 176 acres in Eastern Broome County to create a recreation retreat for their employees called Ansco Lake.
America enters WWii
AND THE GERMAN OWNED COMPANY IS IN THE GOVERNMENT'S CROSS-HAIRS.
When war broke out, the federal government seized Agfa/Ansco as enemy property because of its German ownership and placed treasury agents in the company office to supervise operations. All employees were suspected of being spies unless proven otherwise. All consumer camera production was stopped and replaced with the design and manufacturing of optical equipment to support the war effort.
CAMO DETECTION AND FIELD PROCESSING.
Ansco introduces a color film that helps to better detect camouflage, but more importantly it is the first American color film that can be processed by the end user in the field. Advancements like this prompted the company employees to receive two Army-Navy Awards for their wartime service.
A return to consumer cameras
The Reflex and the Panda.
Starting with updated versions of seven previous models and two new models: the inexpensive all plastic Panda and the high-end all metal precision built twin lens reflex, the Ansco Reflex.
A year of record production
AND FACILITY GROWTH
The company continued to break ground producing 151,000 units a month and over 2 million cameras for the year. In 1950, the last major addition was added to 16 Emma St
so many cameras, so little time
The Ansco Super Regent LVS was the first camera in America offering the light value system. Many others soon followed suit.
3..2..1.. lift off
The company designs a special high speed reversal film for the space program.
It is used to record Alan Shepards face during his sub-orbital flight. The following year, 20 years after seizing control of the company, Congress finally passes a bill to relinquish government control and permit the sale of company stock.
a whole new world
GAF is announced as the official film of Disneyland and Disney World.
The begining of the end
ANSCO FINDS THAT IT CAN NO LONGER COMPETE ON A GLOBAL STAGE.
The dismantling of the company began when Ansco withdrew from the consumer photography and film industries, which resulted in the elimination of 1,100 jobs and the closure of 6 Emma Street. Subsequently, the Ansco trademark was sold to a Hong Kong-based company who continued the production of Ansco products.
Over time, pieces of the company were sold off to various buyers. In 1998, everything came to an end when Kodak purchased the last vestige of Ansco, announced the closure of all Binghamton-based operations, and sold the main 33-acre site to a company that demolished all the buildings to make way for new development.
All that remains of the company’s presence in Binghamton and their impact on the world of film and photography is 6 Emma Street.
The last remaining ANSCO
In 2012, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Awaiting another company to recognize its potential and invest in a vision for its rebirth.
Today, the Ansco is home to several light industrial companies, and soon will be home to 100 residential luxury lofts
# of Residential Units
Onsite Underground Parking
24-Hour Fitness Studio
Private Community Room
Onsite Management Team
Energy Efficient Appliances & Design
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