Reviewing Argus Progress
Of primary interest in this issue probably will be the pictorial report of our first twenty-five
years of operation. Actually, our 25th anniversary date was this past August 8. We are especially
proud of the f act that two employees, Helen Breining and Merrill Rayment, have been with us for the
entire twentyfive years. To say that we have made great progress during this 25-year period is
probably a gross understatement. Just recently I was reviewing a report made to the stockholders
approximately nine months af ter the company was started in 1931. There are some interesting
comparisons that can be made f rom that report. For instance, it appears that the average earnings
for all employees came to something under forty cents per hour. In contrast, the average hourly
earnings at Argus now are approaching $2.40 per hour. This does not include the cost of fringe
benefits. We sometimes forget that in 1931 there were no such things as fringe benefits, whereas
today we have come to take for granted vacations, holidays, Profit Sharing, the various insurance
programs, and the many other fringe benefits that we receive which make a considerable addition to
our annual earnings. An interesting excerpt from the 1931 report is as follows: "One of the
most disappointing things to the management was that the designs of radio sets which were originally
put into production in September did not continue to sell throughout the season and our sales on the
previous models dropped off very badly in January, at which time new ideas had to be injected into
the product in order to continue production. During the month of January the factory produced very
little, only building 1,476 sets, yet our payroll was $6,000, all spent in preparing designs and
equipment to take care of an entirely new line of radio sets." It is interesting to note that
even in those early days there were
lems with employment at the begining of each calendar year af ter the Christmas sales period had
ended. During the past few years we have made a real effort to reduce the effects of lower sales in
the beginning calendar months by building up our inventory of finished products during this period.
Actually, we have achieved a considerable degree of success in this effort, as the number of
employees now fluctuates less than 10% over the year. In spite of the risk of carrying big
inventories of finished products, we have nevertheless manufactured for inventory to stabilize
employment, using our best forecast of future sales. In the early days, no product was produced
until an order had been received. If we did that today our employment would drop more than 50%
during the slack months of late winter. These comparisons mayhave given you a quick idea of some of
the changes that have taken place at Argus. Probably of keener interest is the current status of our
Company. The publication of our annual report later this monthandthe scheduling of our annual dinner
on Monday, October 8 will give us an opportunity to review in more detail just where we stand today.
In anticipation of these events, however, it is significant to note that our sales of commercial
products have increased over a million dollars this fiscal year to a total in excess of $19,500,000.
This is a continuation of a trend which has shown increased commercial sales each year since the
late 40fs. The Companyrs Profit Sharing contribution for the members this year will be at a ratio of
$400 for each $200 contribution. The details of each account are being prepared now by the Trustee
of the Fund, the Ann Arbor Trust Company.
Jasper Womack, Maintenance, took top honors among July and August suggestion awards by earninga
check for $303.94. His suggestion concerns a method of saving trichlorethylene when the degreaser in
Department 10 is cleaned. (See photo above.) A check for $183. 30 went to Emil Johnson, Maintenance,
for his suggestion that the Cornell Dublier capacitors be repaired instead of replaced. Ernest
Billau, Polishing, received a $165.30 suggestion award for suggesting that the speed of one of the
polishing machines be reduced. An award of $108.96 was received by Jim Romine, Projector Assembly,
for his suggestion that the twisting of the tabs on the carrier plate be discontinued. Orrin Dicker,
Blocking, won $58.43 for his suggestion concerning a method change in blocking certain lenses.
Shirley Dersham, Tabulating, received a check for $51.75. Her suggestion was the elimination of
checking invoices manually in the Accounts Receivable Department. Matta Maynard, Camera Assembly,
won $37.47 for suggesting that the length of the C-3 back hinge screws be increased. Edith Odegard,
Salvage, suggested that ring gages be used to check chipped lenses in the Salvage Department and
received a check for $21.80. Other suggestion awards were as follows: Jim Sieloff, Production
Control- $18.13; Anna Torsch, Camera Assembly- $17. 55; Ginny Brumley, Sales- $15. 50; John Lawr ene
e, Maintenance- $13. 50; Ken Hubbell, Machine Shop- $13; George Jordán, Optical
Assembly-$11.30; John Kampas, Production Control- $10 plus a $25 bonus bond; and Russell Conley,
Machine $10. In July and August, $1,039.93 was paid to Argus employees for their suggestions.
These two employees represent 50 years of service and are the only two employees who have been in
the continuous service of the Company since the first day of business, which was August 8, 1931.
Helen started in the radio assembly department and moved to her present job in Salvage some 15
years ago. She tells of these early days when the assembly departments worked only af ter orders
Merrill, who has been known by the nickname of "Shrimp, " longer than he can remember,
spent his first 19 years of service in the shipping department and for the last 6 years has been
with Receiving. He recalls that Shipping was located where the Sales Department is presen tly
situated and te lis of how sneep - skin-lined coats were necessary from f all to spring because of
the inadequate central heating system.
Q C years O of service
The early history of Argus was dominated by its founder, Charles A. Verschoor, a brilliant
inventor who was able to obtain financial support during the difficult economie period of the early
International Radio Corporation was the first in a series of ñames the company has
operated under. The principal product was the "KadetteM radio, which scooped the competition
because it used tubes instead of a bulky transformer and operated on both AC and DC current. Even
with this design advantage over the competition, a constant strugglefor survival hadto be waged. By
continuing to introduce new and startling radio products the competitive position of the company was
advanced rapidly and during 1936 had a total sales volume of one million dollars.
The year 1936 witnessed another occurrence that was destinedtoovershadow the radio business
beyond the wildest dreamsof those who were responsible for its inception.
While visiting Germany, Charles Verschoor had become interested in cameras. This interest led to
his consideration of the possibility of manufacturing aninexpensive, American-made 35 mm candid
camera. Preparations for the camera's production we re begun late in 1935 and, with an approximate
investment of $3,000, including advertising, the first Model A camera left the assembly line in May
With a price tag of $10, it created a sensation in the photographic market because it was the
first entirely American -made camera of the 35 mm or candid type. The 35 mm camera market was
previously dominatedbyforeign manufacturers whose units cost many times more than $10.
Almos t immediately, the Model A found a place in the buying habits of the public. The trade name
for this camera was Argus, and a fitting name it was, since Argus was the Greek god of a hundred
eyes. A Metropolitan Group Insurance Plan was first offered to Argus employees andtheir families in
1937. Benefits to policy holders have been constantly increased and improved over the years and in
1955 alone reached $146,000.
The success of this camera product carne none too soon, for in the following year of 1937 the
entire radio industry experienced a sizeable set-back. Many firms closed. International Research
Corporation (a new name taken on soon after the cameras went into production) found that the slack
in the radio business could be taken up by introducing many new photographic products such as
enlargers, printers, projectors and other accessories. An electric razor with a trade name of the
Glide Shaver was also manufactured and sold at the very appealing price of $7.50. By this time it
was clear to the management that the company's fortune lay in the photographic field and, in keeping
with this belief, the entire radio business was sold.
"why It's Called Argus"
Argus President Robert E. Lewis wrote the following article for American Druggist Magazine in
1954. Companies blessed withan especially appropriate brand name of ten drive the ir own corporate
names into obscurity. That's what happened to us - in fact, we were practically "forced"
to change onr name to Argus. No one knows exactly how Argus was resurrected from ancient Greek
mythology to identify a modern camera, but it was a happy thought born in 1936, when we were
introducing the first low-priced 35 mm camera to the United States. Partly because of the immediate
success of that camera, and partly because of the aptness of the name, Argus became a house - hold
word in photography. It means sharp-eyed, watchful, and it's short and easy to pronounce. So people
forgot us as International Industries, Inc. and remembered us as Argus. They even wrote to us as
"the Argus people" or "the Argus company." After a few years of this, our duty
was clear- we change d our corporate name to Argus Cameras, Inc. By chance, we also made a
three-thousand-year-old legend come true. The original Argus was a vigilant guardián of
godesses- he never closed all of his 100 eyes at once. And so even today Argus has millions of
"eyes"- the precisión lenses of Argus cameras all over the world. Surely some of
them are always open.
Soon a wing was added to the plant (now Plant I) to house the optical división. World War
II found International Research Corporation in a position to engineer and manufacture the various
precisión optical instruments that were so critically needed and, by virtue of our extensive
background in the manufacture of radios, we were able to produce various electronic devices that
were also very critically needed in the war effort. Ever increasing demand for more military
equipment made expansión necessary. An entirely new plant, facing the original, was built in
1942. Employment stood at 1,000 persons.
During the period between 1936 and 1941, many different cameras were designed and sold. One of
these was known as the C-3. This model is still in production and has become the largest selling 35
mm camera in the world. Even today, it is still regarded as possibly the best camera buy.
Argus employees formally organized the Employee Recreation Club in 1938 to provide social and
recreational activities for employees and their families. Fr om that time to the present, the club
's activities have been much the same, including the sponsoring of athletic teams and leagues,
dances, parties, and picnics. The recreation area at Independence Lake was leased in 1952 and since
that time has provided many Argus families with recreational facilities and relief f rom the
summer's heat. Expanding business made it necessary to make our own lenses and in 1939 the entire
manufacturing equipment of the Graf Optical Company was purchased.
In the war years that followed the men and women of Argus distinguished themselves by earning
five Army-Navy "E" awards.
At a dinner given by the Company for all its employees on December 23, 1941, the Profit Sharing
Savings Retirement Plan was introduced. lts purpose was to provide the employees a means of becoming
partners with the stockholders in sharing the firm's prof its. This in turn would stimulate an even
keener interest in the Company's success and, at the same time, promote a spirit of economy and
thrift against retirement years. Since that first year, the membership has grown from 218 to 800 and
the fund has grown from $13,000 to over $2,000,000. Individual accounts of charter members are as
high as $14,000.
The war's end brought a slight lull in activities at Argus while civilian products were being put
back into production and several new products were being busily developed by the Engineering
Department. The vast amount of equipment the company now possessed made it possible to manufacture a
greater portion of the product components than ever before was possible. The goods-starved public
consumed cameras and related items at a feverish rate. This large consumer demand was certainly not
confined to cameras and the company made an effort to diversify by purchasing manufacturing
facilities for the production of electrical appliances. Almost immediately the market shortage
period ended and, without a well-known trade name in that industry, sales feil and the investment
lost money until it was disposed of in 1949. The camera business had held steady, however, and in
1950 the total sales volume was in excess of five million dollars.
The Suggestion Plan was put into operation during 1940. lts purpose was and still is to encourage
employees to develop ideas that save time and material, improve the products, or make the Company a
better working place. This plan is recognized as one of the best in the country and many thousands
of dollars have been paid to employees for their acceptable ideas since the plan 's inception. In
the past three years alone, over $22,000 has been paid out in suggestion awards.
At the outbreak of the Korean conflict the Company was again called upon to take an active part
in the manufacture of optical fire control and electronic equipment for the Armed Forces. Unlike the
World War II period, however, civilian products were not only continued in production but
experienced sizeable sales increases. Two additions were made to the optical plant, which had
already been revised once since it was built in 1942.
Argus Cameras, Inc. today is a company that has reached maturity in the photographic industry.
Sales of commercial products have progressed to an time high of over nineteen and a half million
dollars. Investments in machinery and buildings are at a record of three and a half million dollars.
In its short history the Argus name has come to mean Quality at Value .
The first issue of an JC ■ official employee pubV lication, "Argus Eyes J ■T for
Victory," appeared L ' on October 5, 1942. " KL Originally under the sponsorship of the
■L Recreation Club, "The I Eyes, lf as described on L the mastheadof the first f WÈ
issue, was a "friendly 3 publication intended to - ■ interest, help and stimWL ulate all
employees of the International tries, Inc.tT - Cllr Now a L K sponsor ed publication, "Argus
Eyes" maintains Wr the same purpose as ïsL was established in the first issue nearly 14
II Ss years ago. ;; Employee educational schola] ships we re instituted by the Company in
cooperation with the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan College in 1953. Four scholarships
of $250 are awarded yearly to Argus employees or children of employees. Selection is based on
general scholarships qualifications and is administered bythe University of Michigan committee on
scholarships. Each award is renewable for three additional years.
Snapshots From The Photo Album
PROUDLY PRESENTS THE MODEL M
k jp 1 1 ■ Ba ■ ■r w ■ ■ É IJ gfl LIST PRICE StfH $7-50 . ■ PWP THESE UNIQUE
Ml P Ë FEATURES EpIHnipP High precisión tripiet Anastigmat f:6.3 HllJ pl lens, fuUy
color corrected. Ike. i4tUmate in 9usxfeive GcuneKié. 'SZo.1 and Now, for the first time, it
is possible to purchase an Argus camera with Argus engineering # Leng openings marked for various
cision and Argus features at less than $10.00. The smartly styled, beautifully streamlined, chrome
Ught conditions ribbon trimmed Model M is so tiny it fits easily into the purse or pocket. lts
high-precision Argus construction assures perfect performance in the hands of novice or
professional. Color Two-speed shutter for instantáneos or raphy is economical with the Model
M since it takes either single or doublé frame pictures, bulb exposures. permitting twice as
many shots on a roll of film. Special accessories for close-up portrait and . Built-in optical view
finder, tripod pictorial effects adds to its versatility. Uses standard "Kodak Bantam" and
"Bantam sQcket Qnd collapgible lens mount. chrome" film or for best results -
special" Ar guspan" or Arguspan Dufaycolor-M film- balanceó to the Model M. camera
to insure superior pictures. Takes single or doublé frame pictures. The introduction of a new
product gets much more attention today than did this Model M back in 1938.
Government Equipment Is Put Into Mothballs
A large percentage of the Government owned machinery and equipment has been removed f rom our
plants and sent to a central storage and preservation depot at Battle Creek. The lens processing
machines shown in the above pictures are about to be loaded on trucks for the trip to the Government
warehouse. They were used principally in the manufac turing of lenses and prisms for the TTTt series
scopes and fire control instruments we built during the Korean War. In the event this country is
faced with another emergency this equipment can be withdrawn from its state of preservation and
returned to service.
About The Cover
The Gala kids. Father Jan works in Department 62.
Service With A Smile
A recent addition to the Independence Lake recreation facilities was the installation of toddier
swings and teeter-totters.
This project was carried out by members of the Product Service Department. The credits go to Torn
Kentes, Ed Nimke, Henry Christopherson, Bill Dixon, Bill McGinn, and Bob Lucas who are all, as you
might have guessed, members of the Product Service Department.
Annual Company Dinner
MtT Monda, ÖcioUi 8, 1956 íi MicUufan 14üoh, BaWuxuH 6:45 fx.m. Your card of
invitation will be in the mail soon. Make your reservations as soon as possible in the Personnel
Services Office, Second Floor, Plant I.
Fifty-three Celebrate Service Anniversaries
KOT PICTURED Mary Arm Eocco, Tabulating - 5 years Bob Shankland, Grind ing - 5 y e ars
Eleven Argus Employees Retire To Life Of Leisure This Summer
Eleven Argus Employees Retire To Life Of Leisure This Summer
êmitk JlvuUntf 1J edesiUat ZtUfleUasidt
Argus Eyes has been a little behind the times with a wedding or two, but bette r late than never.
Irma Varner, Sales, married Alien Thibodeau of Ypsilanti in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in
Ypsilanti last April 14. The couple honeymooned in Kentucky and Indiana. Argus people who were among
the attendants included Alice Riley, Sales, who was maid of honor; Donna Bakker, Sales, bridesmaid;
Marianne Eschelbach and Nona Sutton, Sales; and Bernie Fry, formerly of Sales. Helen Graf, Sales,
married Robert Freeland of Ann Arbor on June 16 at the Methodist Church in Saline. The couple
honeymooned in Pennsylvania and Kentucky and are now living in Ann Arbor.
Shirley Ann Baker, daughter, of Lucille (Projector Assembly) was wed July 21 to Richard Byrd of
Wayne. The couple spent two weeks at Detour, Michigan and are now living in Wayne.
Black and white prints of any photos published in Argus Eyes may be obtained by filling out the
coupon below and taking it to the Personnel Services Office. One photo will be f ree of charge.
There will be a charge of 7 cents for each additional copy. Photo Coupon Name Dept. No. of
Go West, Young Man
Jim Yates (Camera Assembly) daughter Cheryl Renee was bom August 16. She weighed 6 lbs., 4 oz. A
son, David, was born August 17 to Paul Mason, Grinding. He weighed 6 lbs. , 10 oz. Bob Nickels,
Purchasing, has a son, Robert James. He was born August 21 and weighed 7 lbs., 12 oz. A daughter,
Sherry Leigh, was born September 2 to Leon and Florence Blackmer. She weighed 9 lbs. Leon works in
Centering and Florence formerly worked in Production Control.
Bob Wilson, Argus Cameras of Canada, has a daughter, Christine Marie. She was born on April 28.
July 4 was certainly a day for celebration for the Russeau family (Louise works in the Paint Shop).
Independence Day was the birth date of Louise Ts daughter Diane Rene. She weighed 6 lbs. , 15 oz. A
daughter, Diane Lynn, was born July 10 to Martin Metzger, Accounts Payable. Diane weighed in at 7
lbs. , 6 oz. Her photo at the age of three weeks, is shown below.
Ima Jean Roberts, formerly of Camera Assembly, has a son, Elvin Lee Roy, Jr. He was born July 11
weighing 6 lbs., 10 oz. His photo is shown below.
Bud Trexler, Sales, has a daughter Carol Elizabeth, born July 17. Bob Lewisf (Military Sales)
daughter Barbara Elizabeth was born on July 20. A daughter, Lindsay Ann, was born July 21 to Guy
Wescott, Standards. She weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz. A son, Scott Ralston, was born August 2 to Bruce
Corley, Wholesale Sales. Scott weighed in at 7 lbs. , 4 oz. Robert Taylor, Mechanical Finishing, has
a son, Robert, Jr. He was born August 5 and weighed 6 lbs., 7 oz.
Again this year, the Argus softball team proved itself , and climaxed a most successful season by
capturing not only the Industrial League title but also annexing the post season City Recreational
Tournament. Manager Joe OTDonnell accepted both of these trophies in behalf of the team and they are
now in the already buiging display shelf in Plant I. It is doubtful if any team ever dominated play
in the league as did our representative this year. Backed by the strongest pitching staff ever
assembled by an Argus entry, our team broke out in front and held on to first place through the
entire season. In Gayle Nelson, Danny Eskins, and Bob Foor, Manager O'Donnell had a trio of hurlers
who went through the entire season without giving a bad performance . In f act, not once was an
Argus hurler lifted because of ineffectiveness. St. Nick's, runner-up to the league champs, really
feit the sting of Argus twirling by being held hitless in their two meetings. In the first game,
Gayle Nelson tossed a perfect game, retiring the twenty-one men he faced. In the second clash
between these two rivals, Danny Eskins got the cali and responded with what must be considered a
pitching masterpiece never equalled in the history of Ann Arbor softball. Danny had his wide variety
of stuff working to perfection and had the St. Nick's batters fanning the breeze all night. Danny
not only held the St. Nick's boys hitless, but of the twenty-one batters he faced, twenty went down
on strikes. The other out was a pop fly to the catcher on an attempted bunt, so the game ended with
catcher Max Robinson getting all twenty-one putpouts. Shutouts became commonplace and Nelson,
Eskins, and Foor all turned in whitewash performances. To back up his strong mound staff, Manager
O'Donnell fielded an equally strong infield and outfield. Max Robinson, who is considered one of Ann
Arbor' s finest receivers, took care of the slants of all the moundsmen. At first base the veteran
Bob Kalmbach showed that he has lost none of his polish and played steady while the fleetfooted
Jimmy Yates was taking care of everything hit in the general direction of the shortstop position. At
the keystone sack, Ray Gregory and George Bock shared duties with each turning in good performances.
The outfield chores were well taken care of by the hard-hitting Doug Nordman in Left, Bill Allen in
Center, and husky Bruce Fraser in Right. In addition to this regular personnel, Manager O'Donnell
had strong reserves in the persons of Jack Scott, Jim Swansey, Don Haworth, and Don Zemke. After
dominating play in the Industrial League the Argus entry was shifted to Class B for the State
Tournament. In this very fast company the Argus nine performed admirably. After winning two of the
starts in this strong competition, our team was eliminated f rom further play when they suffered a
hard fought 2-1 loss to Adrián. The caliber of play in the tournament can be noted when one
realizes that this same Adrián team was a member last year of Michigan' s Major Softball
League. However, by their play in the tournament, the camera boys gained even more respect in the
district. Manager O'Donnell and the entire team have earned congratulations for their efforts this
year. In concluding thisyear's season, there is only one regret; being represented by the best of
all Argus teams, it seems to bad that they could not have been given better support by the
Argus fans. In most of the games, only a handf ui of supporters were on hand to cheer their team
to victory. However, I am certain we all wish to offer congratulations to our team! With one more
week remaining in the Men's Golf League, the race in the Wednesday 3:30 League is very close. In the
Wednesday 3:30 League, there are four teams who have a possibility of winning the league. In first
place are Morrie Howe and George Conn; second place, Don Crump and Harold Peterson; third place,
Eric Soderholm and Ray Clark; and fourth place, George Calado and Eugene Kline . There are ten
points separating the first and fourth place teams with a possibility of winning ten points a night.
The Wednesday 5:00 League has concluded their schedule and Bob (Buck) Nickels and Torn Heermans are
the champs in this league. In the Tuesday 5:00 League, Dick Leggett and Neil Navarre are the
winners. This was decided on the next to the last night of golf. At the conclusión of league
play, the winners of each League will play to determine the Argus Champions.
Published monthly for the employees of Argus Cameras, Inc. and their families. Editor - Millie
Haynie REPORTERS: Machine Shop - DOROTHY LIXEY, Camera Assembly - RUTH O' HARE, Purchasing - DOLORES
HELZERMAN, Lens Processing - BETTY SHATTUCK, Maintenance - EMIL JOHNSON, Optical
Assembly-Inspection, JEAN FITZGERALD, Engineering - JIM MELDRUM, Standards - VIRGINIA BIRNEY,
Production Planning - PATT DUCHARME, Tool Room - BILL FIKE, Shipping - HILDA WHITE, Accounting -
BEULAH NEWMAN, Service - TOM KENTES, Suggestion Office - ART PARKER, Jr. , Govt. Opt. Assembly -
THRESSEL CONLEY, Sales - IRMA THIBODEAU, State Street Warehouse - BOB MILLER, Paint Shop - RON
ARNST, Night Shift - ART SELENT and LEO WIEDERHOFT. Feature writers: Robert Lewis, Andy Argus, Don
Crump, Art Parker, Jr. Photoprinting: Jan Gala
Argus Cameras, Inc.
ANN ARBOR. MICHIGAN Return Postage Guaranteed
Sc 56t, P. L. R. U. S. POSTAGE P A I D Ai Aoc, Midiifén PfmH No. 59t
Argusites Enjoy Annual Beer Picnic