"C. C. Harrison, so widely known as a manufacturer of camera lenses and tubes, for heliographic use, was, in 1846, a daguerreotype manipulator. He prosecuted this business for several years, making, the while, lenses both for his own use and for sale. The value of his lenses eventually became so extensively known, and the demand for them so great, that he was constrained to give his undivided attention to this manufacture, in which he has, at present, constantly employed over thirty workmen. Up to May 15th, 1863, he had constructed eight thousand eight hundred and seventeen of the lenses in general use, and three hundred and seven of his new globe lenses, so highly prized for landscape-photography copying, &c." -The Camera and the Pencil By Marcus Aurelius Root (US) 1864
CC Harrison Orthoscope Lens
"I do not intend to give the modus operandi of the various processes, nor to describe the photographic apparatus most in use, but it seems only justice to call your attention to the astonishing successful labors of our fellow citizen, C. C. Harrison, in the manufacture of that most difficult of all work, the Camera; these are not behind the best optical instruments made in the world, although Mr. Harrison has not the mathematical assistance of a Petzval, nor the early training of a working optician. His success will be best appreciated by the man of science, who well knows the difficulty of working achromatic lenses of such enormous diameter as three, four and six inches, to less than one foot focus; yet in these he has contrived to reduce the spherical aberration to a mere fraction, and the chromatic almost to a perfect nonentity. Some of Mr. Harrison's instruments are even much larger, being not less than nine inches in clear aperture, the largest ever made. The demand for such very large lenses, has arisen from the desire for life size photographs, several of which graced our exhibition at the crystal palace last autumn." TRANSACTIONS OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE, CITY OF NEW-YORK FOR THE YEAR 1857. Charles Van Benthuysen (US) 1858
In 1840, Joseph Petzval of Vienna invented two lenses; the first was his landmark portrait lens design ("Petzval Portrait") and the other was his landscape design. Petzval's landscape lens, the "Orthoskop," featured a double combination of lenses, which allowed for greater sharpness and flatness of field than the ordinary single lens of the day. While the Petzval Portrait lens forever changed photography almost instantly, the landscape design sat dorment until about 1856. At this time, Petzval had Dietzler of Vienna produce his lens and within a short period of time, Voigtlander manufactured a version of the lens as did Ross in England and Harrison in the United States. The Dietzler and Voigtlander lenses were rated at f/8.7, while Ross' version came in at about f/14. Harrsion's lens appears to be f/11. All of these lenses tend to be of long focus and in fact are an early precursor to the telephoto objective.
This design was copied by many and trade names included; "Petzval Landscape," "Orthographic," "Orthoscop," "Orthoscope," and "Caloscopic."
Original design f/8.7 with a 44 degree angle of view
"Orthoscopic" was to denote freedom from distortion (even though the design does suffer from some pincushion distortion).
From Edward Nugent's, "Optics: Light and Sight Theoretically and Practically Treated"
Voigtlander's version of the Orthoscop from Ausführliches Handbuch der Photographie By Josef Maria Eder, (Germany) 1893
See an example of the Voigtlander lens. Another example here.
Diagram of Harrison's Orthoscope Lens
"Orthoscopic Lens.-This form which, like the portrait lens, we owe to Petzval, has been extensively used, especially in this country. Harrison manufactured many good objectives of this form; but on introducing the globe lens, he stopped making the'orthoscopic, and this lens is now but little used here. In Germany it seems to have kept its place better. The orthoscopic is a good copying lens, but slow, owing to its long focus, and the small stop generally used with it in copying. For taking views, a stop of considerable size may be employed; and, as it has a considerable depth of focus, it is by some much prized for landscape work; though this is rather in Germany than here. Small pictures of landscape scenery are well taken by the smaller orthoscopic lenses, because in them the focal length is not far from corresponding with that of the eye. But large pictures made with the orthoscopic require a lens of very long focus; and it results that planes of distance are not well rendered, the foregrounds become indistinct and inconspicuous, and distant objects look unnaturally near." A manual of photography: intended as a text book for beginners and a book of reference for advanced photographers: Author: Lea, Mathew Carey (US) 1868
What makes this lens special to the history of photographic lenses is the Iris Diaphragm that was patented by Harrison and his protege, Joseph Schnitzer. The diaphragm was likely first manufactured in a Harrison lens in 1857, although it took until September 7, 1858 for the patent to be approved. All known Harrsion Orthoscope lenses are marked Patent Applied For ("Patent Appld For"). Later Harrison portrait lenses that featured this aperture control were marked "Sep. 7 1858" This diaphragm was the basis for iris shutters of the 1880-1900 period and are also the basis for automatic aperture control systems in todays cameras - some 150 years later. The patent for this is shown below:
Notice the markings for the aperture are marked from 1/4 inch on top, down to a maximum opening of 1 inch. One can assume that since this lens was about f/14 in speed, and has a back focus of about 14 inches, it covered 8x10 and whole plate sizes. Although the front element is almost 3 inches wide, the widest aperture opening is one inch.
With the front element group removed, one can clearly see the six bladed iris that was invented.