The story of Rollei began in 1920 in a precision mechanics and optics workshop in Braunschweig (Brunswick). As early as 1916, Reinhold Heidecke, a native of the Vogtland region, had the explicit idea of marketing a new kind of roll film camera. After a long search for start-up capital, he ran across Paul Franke, who gave him financial support for his new camera.
In 1919, Reinhold Heidecke and Paul Franke decided to apply for a trade license for their company “Franke & Heidecke”. This company name, which has prevailed as a trademark to this very day, was registered with the Trade Registry on February 1, 1920.
With the twin-lens Rolleiflex, a pioneering roll film camera, Rollei quickly established its worldwide reputation as a precision manufacturer. Rolleiflex, together with Rollei, became a high-quality cult brand, and in the fifties and sixties it put its own stamp on a photographic style.