Emanuel Goldberg


The above picture of Professor Emanuel Goldberg was taken in 1907.

Emanuel Goldberg [1881-1971]:  was born in Russia as the son of a medical doctor who was a member of the Russian military. He was not permitted to matriculate in the field of engineering because only one student of Jewish background was authorized to attend that science category and so he took Chemistry. After graduating from Moscow University, he completed his doctorate in Germany at Leipzig University.  He came to the attention of the Carl Zeiss firm because of a unique lens testing device he had painstakingly perfected. Later he developed an photographic exposure device which later became known as the “Goldberg wedge”  His mentor at Carl Zeiss was Dr. Wandersleb who brought him into the firm.  He worked as a consultant at the firm resolving prismatic, silvering and aerial photography problems, he was consequently hired as a member of the board of management of the Carl Zeiss Stiftung subsidiary firm named International Camera, Aktiengesellschaft [Ica] in 1917.  He organized specific research and development procedures and documentation processes and made some interesting discoveries himself.  One of his more interesting products was a special motor system for the Kinamo movie camera which maintained the same film advance speed even as the spring driven motor wound downward.  He also worked on special micrographic systems and was responsible for other major discoveries including the microdot and an exceptionally unique electronic search mechanism for microfilm records of which Zeiss Ikon manufactured two prototypes in the late 1920’s.  Zeiss Ikon would make a prototype of this invention but due to the times, it was not able to be marketed.  He was also an active teacher at the University of Dresden and was more often called Professor than Doctor.  His most popular presentation at the University was on the “Fundamental of Talking Films” which was a subject that he worked on technically even while he was the leading manager at Zeiss Ikon.   In this he worked closely with Alexander Ernemann and Hermann Joachim.  This was a very important part of the business at Zeiss Ikon even though it was inherited mostly from Ernemann. He was also a prime mover of the joint venture with other firms to form Fernseh AG which was the German project to develop television.

He became the day to day head of the board of management of Zeiss Ikon at its formation in 1926 and spent most of his time integrating the predecessor firms and making that organization financially  successful over its early years.  However, with the Nazi’s rise to power in the Germany in 1933, the fact that he was Jewish became the reason for them to remove him from the plant in 1933 and never allowed him to return.  He worked for the firm for a time out of the Paris subsidiary of Zeiss Ikon but his situation was far from satisfying. He went to Tel Aviv in modern Israel and became a one man scientific operation and a mentor to the fledgling Israeli scientific community.

A detailed account of his life, successes and inventions can be found in the book “Emanuel Goldberg and His Knowledge Machine“authored by Michael Buckland .

A further work on Goldberg’s 1925 invention of the microdot is “The Microdot History and Application” by William White.

Kinamo 35 BiotarKinamo Amer Annual 1924

Above is a picture of the 35 mm version of his Kinamo camera with a special version of the Biotar lens designed by Dr. Willy Merte of Carl Zeiss Jena. Goldberg was also responsible for the special cassette to house the film. The 16 mm version of the camera is in the advertisement to the right. It was originally marketed by Ica but Zeiss Ikon would manufacture it after 1926. Kinamo is based on the German word for movie (Kino) and the Latin verb for love which amounts to “I love movies!!”  Several of Goldberg’s  personal family films were used to show the ease of using the camera and were used as advertising. Thanks to the Goldberg family, Zeiss Historica was able to digitally transfer some of these films to DVD and send copies to our members as a special distribution.

Ica Kinamo Focus 1923Kinamo