The history of OmegaBrandess starts all the way back in 1935 when three brothers, Fred, Rudolph, and Alfred Simmon produced a domestic enlarger for the 35mm camera format. In 1936, they chose the Greek letter ‘Omega’ as their trademark and registered it with the US Patent Office. Over the years, they adapted to the market and came out with several different enlargers.
During World War II, civilian use of enlargers was prohibited. The trio secured contracts with the Army Signal Corps and the US Navy, and they were commissioned to make enlargers and film pack cameras to meet the Navy requirements for combat conditions. After the war ended, they resumed their production of consumer enlargers. By the mid-1950s, the brothers had made the decision to become a division of Berkey Photo so that their legacy may live on. With the introduction of color head enlargers that allowed photographers to produce their own enlargements, Omega introduced a number of new models in the 70s and 80s.
With the introduction of one hour photo labs, point-and-shoot 35 mm cameras and digital cameras, the darkroom market began to plummet. In the late 1980s, Berkey Photo went bankrupt. The assets of the Omega enlarger division of Berkey were purchased in 1988 by the RT Color Corp., and was renamed Omega International. Not long after, that company also entered bankruptcy. In May of 1990, the assets of the now bankrupt Omega International were purchased by a small group of Baltimore-based investors under the name Omega Acquisition Corporation.
In November, 1990 the new company made its first acquisition when they purchased the assets of Arkay Corp. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, including the King Concept operation in Minneapolis, to become Omega/Arkay. Things move quickly from there and the company relocated to Westminster, MD. in 1991.
In 1992, the company acquired the assets of the Kostiner Photographic company, a well-known manufacturer of easels and print washers.
In June of 1994, Omega Acquisition acquired the assets of GMI Photographic Inc. of Farmingdale, NY, distributors of the well-known line of Bronica medium format cameras.
In 1995, they purchased the assets of Satter, Inc. in Denver, Colorado. Satter distributed and marketed major photographic lines such as Achiever electronic flashes, Tiffen filters, Forte black & white paper and film, and its own TUNDRA Brand bags, batteries, tripods, camera cases, and accessories. The result was the new Satter/Omega company.
In 1996, the Arkay product line was sold.
In 1998, the company moved its headquarters back to Hampstead, MD. The move was followed in December of 1999 with the closing of the Denver, CO. warehouse, which had been acquired fromSatter. The Denver operations were then consolidated into the Hampstead, MD facility.
In 2001, Omega Acquisition Corporation began doing business under the new name of OmegaSatter, representing the combination of these companies into one and providing their customers with a single source for photographic and darkroom equipment, supplies and accessories. Also in 2001, the company acquired the assets of Berg Color Tone Corp. in New York and moved the operation to its facility in Maryland.
In 2004, Omega Acquisition acquired the assets of Phoenix Corporation of America and relocated the operation from Long Island, NY to its Hampstead facility. The Phoenix line included SLR cameras and lenses, flashes, tripods and other consumer-oriented products, thus transforming the company into one of the leading distributors of photographic products.
In 2008, Omega Acquisition acquired the assets of Novatron Electronics Corporation, manufacturers of studio lighting equipment, and relocated the manufacturing and assembly of the line from Dallas, TX to its Hampstead facility.
In January, 2010, Omega Acquisition acquired the assets of Brandess Kalt Aetna Group to become an even more powerful presence in the Industry, know today as OmegaBrandess Distribution. Like Satter, “BKA” had a large catalog of photographic products that targeted the enthusiast including popular brands like Kodak, Pelican, Kalt, and others. This acquisition more than doubled the size of the company.
In late 2014, OmegaBrandess purchased the hardware assets of Gigapan, LLC. GigaPan, a robotic camera mount system that assists photographers in creating ultra-high resolution panoramic images. The mounts are now manufactured by OmegaBrandess in their Hampstead, MD facility.
The most recent acquisition took place in January 2015 when OmegaBrandess acquired several lines from another established distributor, HP Marketing. Becoming part of the ever-growing catalog of products were brands including Giottos, Rodenstock, Linhof, Gepe and more.
OmegaBrandess Distribution continues to expand by adding new, exclusive lines and seeking out select opportunities that will fuel the company’s growth into the coming years.