Voigtländer was founded as early as 1756 in Vienna, Austria! It later moved to Germany, and by 1862 the company had produced 10.000 camera lenses. Shortly after the photographic camera was invented, they also produced cameras. This was around 1840.
In the 1920s came the production of 9x6 cameras, and by the end of the 30s they were into 35 film cameras. Lens number 4.000.000 was produced in 1955. Their first PP SLR, called Bessamatic, was introduced in 1958 and on the market in '59. To follow the Bessamatic,
Voigtländer introduced worlds first slr zoom lens, the 36-82/2,8 Zoomar in 1959, but avaiable from '60. They produced four different Bessamatic 35 PP SLRs from 1959 till 1969. From 1965 on, Zeiss Ikon AG, who had purchased a majority share in 1956, was
gradually taking over, and In 1965 the two companies merged. That same year the Icarex was introduced, based on a Voigtländer construction and first named Zeiss Ikon-Voigtländer Icarex, later with only the Zeiss Ikon logo.
Zeiss sold the name to Rolleiflex, who could do little with the brand, other than make a near copy of the Rolleiflex 35, called VSL-1 and VSL-2, produced, like Rolleiflex, in Singapore. With decreasing sales, Rolleiflex had to close in 1982. After that, the
Voigtländer brand was sold to trade companies before Cosina took over and produced some non PP SLR Cosina Bessamatics from 1999.