A misleading title? We’re not sure. It’s doubtful that in Yashima’s early days of camera manufacturing, that they made their own leather case goods. They had plenty on their plate already – lens production (mostly testing), machining parts, pouring cast aluminum bodies, stamping out metal pieces and of course, putting it all together in a box and shipping it off to various Trading Companies and camera dealers around Japan and the world. Oh did we mention, inventing new camera designs too.
We believe that Yashima-Yashica had their leather case goods made by at least 4 different suppliers – each with their own maker’s marks stamped on the bottom of the case.
Could the trademark be ‘Tomioka Kogaku’? In the early days of Yashima/Yashica, did they use leather cases made by outside companies? More than likely since they would not have had the facilities or skills to produce quality leather products in large quantities IMO.
This image is of the bottom of our Yashicaflex Rookie’s leather camera case. Some of the 1950s era Yashima-Yashica cases have similar marks. With an occasional exception, most 1960s era cases do not carry these marks.
The mystery… we believe that these are ‘maker’s marks’ or trademarks of the company that manufactured the case for Yashima-Yashica. The marks are similar to marks found on Japanese tin toys from the same period. Our theory is that Yashica did not have the facilities or skills to make leather cases on their own in the early days of production and that outside leather crafters added their individual trademarks to the cases.
Other marks that we’ve seen… T.K , NT , GSS and another K.K but in a diamond shaped box.
If you know of the origins of these type of marks on Japanese leather goods please add your comments. We would love to know for sure.
Thanks… C&C ^.^