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Tom Hume

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Actien Gesellschaft fur Anilin Fabrikation, or Agfa, was formed in a suburb of Berlin, Germany in 1867 as a manufacturer of dyes and stains. The first Agfa name on cameras, however, was not until 1873. In 1928, Agfa USA joined with Ansco, a New York company founded in 1896 as the Wescott Photo Specialty Company, which was acquired in 1905 by Edward Anthony and the Scovill Manufacturing Company. In 1939, their holding company (American I. G. Chemical Corporation) was renamed General Aniline & Film Company (GAF).

In 1941, due to the company’s ties with Germany, after the US entered WWII the US government seized Agfa-Ansco as enemy property and placed US Treasury agents in company offices to supervise operations. The company temporarily ceased producing cameras and dedicated its workforce to the war effort. In 1944, after the war, Agfa was dropped from the company name and was again known as Ansco, which adopted a patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme for its film packaging. In its heyday in the late 40s, Ansco produced more than two million cameras per/year.

Even before the outbreak of war in Europe, concerns over possible Nazi influences on American industry led investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise questions about the ownership of General Aniline. Was it I. G. Chemie or I. G. Farben, and what was the connection? After they received evasive answers from three members of the board, government officials concluded that I. G. Chemie was no more than a dummy corporation for I. G. Farben.

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I thought that I'd post in your thread, since it seems you've been inviting folks but no one wants to bite on these puzzles. Unfortunately, not too may cryptologists on the Forum. I thought the I. G. Farben connection was interesting, and a bit sinister. Smacks of post-WWII OSS overtones, Allen Dulles, et al.



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