Minox refers to both a type of camera and to the company which has for many years produced them. The camera commonly associated with the Minox name is the sub-miniature series using the 8x11mm film format, both designed by Walter Zapp in the 1930s. The Minox company, in Germany, has made these along with various 35mm cameras, binoculars, etc.
The archetypal sub-miniature camera, the Minox, was invented by Walter Zapp in 1936 in Estonia. Zapp failed to find investors interested in producing it there, and production began in Riga, Latvia at VEF, running from 1937 until 1943. After World War II, production was resumed in West Germany beginning in 1948. The company Minox GmbH is based in Wetzlar.Although primarily marketed as a luxury item, the Minox was also used as an espionage camera. Its close-focusing lens and small size made it perfect for covert uses such as surveillance or document copying. The Minox was used by both Axis and Allied intelligence agents during World War I