41. The setting of the position of the telemeter prism to
correspond to infinity is carried out by the aid of a rotating
disc fitted with alternate colour filters which are illuminated
from behind, the whole being fixed in the roof of the assembly
shop. The measurement from the lens flange to the centre of
the telemeter actuating roller with the telemeter set at
infinity is 0.750 mms.
Testing of Lenses
42. The Sumitar lenses were tested for definition by
projection at a focal length of 51.68 mm. and were stopped down
to 3.2 aperture throughout the test. The total backward and
forward movement was also checked by a clock coupled to the lens
mount by a pivoted lever movement. The amounts shown by the
clock were very closely checked with the readings of the footage
scale engraved on the focussing mount. The projection test
was in the form of a fine interlaced vertical and horizontal
graticule, interspaced with fine figures and letters which were
compared with a known standard engraved on a vernier attachment
mounted on the screen on to which the image of the graticule
43. Each completed camera is tested finally by taking a
number of black and white photographs between 1.25 to 10 metres.
The result is checked with individual lens, a standard speed
film and a metol hydroquinone developer being used. The tests
are compiled for lens performance reference.
44. The office was well organised and was scrupulously clean.
The equipment appeared to be new and included about 50 drawing
boards, 12 printing machines and the usual accessories. The
filing systems for finished drawings was excellent. The quality
of paper was, of course, poor.
Research and Development.
45. Leitz have a well organised research department with an
impressive staff of scientists, physicists, mathematicians,
optical computors and chemists.
46. The labour is drawn from Wetzlar and neighbouring towns
and the continuity of service helps to ensure a steady skilled
craftsman basis on which the whole works is built. The labour
force, which was nearly 5,000 in early 1939, consists of 2,453
men and 428 women of whom 357 males and 81 females are members
of the staff.
47. The industrial labour force is made up as follows:-
Born Between Skilled Semi-Skilled Unskilled Assist- Apprentices
Years. Worker. Worker Worker ants.
1875-1922 673 678 158 137
1923-1925 92 25 29 72
1926-1928 63 23 45 77
1929-1932 - 7 47 39
1928 and the
following years ______ ______ _______ _______ 256
828 733 279 325 256
______ ______ _______ _______ _____
48. It will be seen that the skilled labour percentage is
very high and the apprentice training scheme is devised to en-
sure a very steady flow of skilled labour.
49. It was very noticeable that men between the ages of 20
and 40 were very few, a fact which of course is attributable
to the War. Of the Leitz employees who were in the fighting
forces 400 were killed and 300 are still prisoners of war.
50. The factory is at present working a week starting at
6.45 and finishing at 4p.m. with one hour for lunch. The
standard week at Leitz in normal times is 48 hours.
51. A new wage system has recently been introduced, after
agreement with Trade Union, which divides the men in to 8 groups
and the women into 6, each group being graded according to
skill. This grading is carried out by the management in
consultation with the workers' representatives.
52. In each grade the rate is made up of the basic rate, for
which normal (and predetermined) output is required, and an
addition for output about the standard. Details of these
systems are given in Appendices "A" and "B".
53. Wage rates are practically the same as before the War
and are low compared with British standards. Production per
employee is now only 50/60% per hour of pre war and this is
attributed to re-action from War, insufficient food lack
of purchasable goods.
Production and Costs Etc.
54. In November 1946, the production of Leica Cameras was
1100 per month of which 89% was allocated to the American
forces, 6% for French forces and 5% for German sales. A
small proportion of the American 89% was available for the
British forces in exchange for Rolliflex cameras.
55. Although the the camera was in great demand production was
limited owing to shortage of materials, particularly optical
glass. Stocks of brass and other metals appeared to be high.
56. Through the shortage of optical glass, lens manufacture
was confined to the f/3.5 5 cm. (standard) and 3.5 cm. (wide
angle) and the f/4.9 cm. and f/4.5 13.5 cm. lenses.
57. The price of the camera with Elmar f/3.5 5 cm. bloomed
lenses and ever-ready case is now 40% above pre-war price with
an addition of Rm. 30 for these models fitted with ball bearings.
58. This makes the German retail price of the camera as
described Rm. 546.6
59. The body without lens or case would be Rm. 394
60. The main items of production at the time of inspection,
besides the Leica camera, were binoculars, projection apparatus
and microscopes. The microscopes included the H. Powder
Binocular, Students, Panphot and Ortholux.
61. The Leitz factory is a well-run happy organisation,
this being due in no small measure to the family nature of the
business and to its importance in the neighbourhood. Discipline
is strict without being severe and one gets the impression of
great interest by employees of every grade in the work being
62. This pride in workmanship and the just pride all have in
their world-wide reputation for quality work is the permeating
spirit of the place and helps greatly to offset apathy caused
by the present dismal state of the country.
63. The products coming from the Leitz works are equal to
any turned out before the war although in some cases the finish
is inferior due to poor materials, especially paints and
64. The team came away with the impression that the Leica
camera is still worthy of its pre-eminent position and that the
skill of the craftsmen is very much in evidence in the Leitz
No. 18. Dated 30.9.46
Group II - Wage Rates System.
New Wages System.
After approval by the Works Council, the Metal Trade Union
and the Hessen District Employment Office, Ernst Leitz Ltd. and
W. and H. Seibert put into effect a new wages system from 1st
The New Wages System gives 8 wage groups for Men and 6 for
Women and makes it possible to grade in our factory different
types of work in the order of the skill required to do it.
This ensures a fairer method of payment than the previous
The grading of the works employees into the various Wage
Groups will be carried out by the Departmental Manager, the
Workers representatives and a member of the Time Study Office.
The new rate will be built up on the basic rate (G.L.)
as shown in the attached chart "Wage-Groups with Age-Gradings
for Men and Women". The Basic Rate is the minimum wage
granted by the Company for which it expects normal output. As
output increases so the basic rate is increased by 10%, 20% or
25% as the case may be; if output decreases the basic rate
is reduced by 10% or 20%. The output grading of time workers
will be done by the Departmental Manager in conjunction with
the Workers representative: at fixed intervals the gradings
will be re-examined and, if necessary, adjusted.
After this, the wage of each worker will be confirmed to
him. In addition, the skilled worker will receive 10% , so
that the addition for a skilled man, in Wage Group V with an
output grade of 125% hourly wage, will be 25% + 10% = 35%and
he will, therefore earn Rm 1.00 + 35% = Rm 1.35
The new rate of piece work is based on the piece work
average. The amount of that rate is 15% higher than the
basic rate and normal output is expected. Vf is the calcu-
lating factor, being earnings per minute.
If work of varying skill, i.e. in different wage groups
,is performed and the re-distribution of such work is
impossible or unnecessary, the new wage will be fixed in the
higher wage group.
If it is necessary, in exceptional circumstances to give
a worker work covered by a lower wage group, the time worker
will receive for equal output his average earnings in the
higher grade and the piece worker the calculation factor of the
wage group in which he has done most work.
The highest age stage has now been reduced from 23 years
to 21 years and the classification of age grades has altered
The basic rates for women over 21 years of age have been
assessed at 75% of the corresponding mans rate in the
In addition to the above the following agreements will be
implemented. "Wage rates for the Iron, Metal & Electro-
industry for the Economic District of Hessen" dated 13.4.38,
clauses VI & IX and "Agreement covering Wage Rates in the Iron,
Metal & Electro-industry of the Economic District of Hessen"
of 1.7.40, clauses 9 to 12.
WAGE-GROUPS WITH AGE-GRADINGS FOR
MEN AND WOMEN.
Wage groups. Over 21 years Over 19 to 21 Years
Basic Piece Piece
Wage Work Per Basic Work Per
Pfennigs Average Minute Wage Average Minute
I) 70 81 1.34 63 72 1.21
II)Unskilled 77 89 1.48 69 79 1.32
III) 85 98 1.63 77 89 1.48
IV)Semi-skilled 92 106 1.77 83 95 1.59
V) 100 115 1.92 90 104 1.72
VI)Skilled 107 123 2.05 96 110 1.84
VII) 114 131 2.18
Over 17 to 19 years.
Over 18 Years. Under 18 Years.
Basic Piece Per Piece Work Per
Wage Work Minute Average Minute
I) 53 61 1.01 66 1.10
II)Unskilled 58 67 1.11 73 1.22
III) 64 74 1.23 80 1.33
IV)Semi-skilled 69 79 1.32 86 1.43
V) Skilled 75 86 1.44 94 1.57Back to beginning page
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