Topcon, the company name that we know of … or some may know of … OK, few would now know of … was first established as Tokyo Kogaku Kikai Kabushiki Kaisha, also known as Tokyo Kogaku Kikai K.K., also known as Tokyo Optical, in 1932. This company was formed to manufacture photographic lenses, precision optical and mechanical instruments for the Imperial Japanese Army.
They starting making cameras in 1937. After WWII they produced LTM lenses for the Leotax cameras … the Topcor lenses have a reputation as being some of the best LTM.
35mm, TLRs were also produced after the war. The Topcon brand first appeared in 1953, and produced a 35mm SLR in 1957 … before Nikon or Canon. The Topcon RE Super was the first TTL exposure metering SLR.
Exported Topcon SLRs were also rebranded under the Beseler and Hanimex name. Camera production stopped in 1981. K.K. Topcon concentrated on specialized optical equipment after that time.