A Petzval memorial and biography written 122 years ago. Petzval passed away on September 17, 1891.
November 24, 2013
I just love photographic ephemera. My latest acquisition is a 2 inch celluloid compact mirror. The graphics and colors are fantastic and other than a mirror crack, its in great shape.
From the book, Milwaukee, A Half Century's Progress, 1846-1896. Consolidated Illustrating Company, 1896. Page 134
CT. SHAPE & CO.; Northwestern Photographic Stock Depot; No. 223 Grand Avenue.—The importance of Milwaukee as a great distributing point for all * kinds of specialties and supplies cannot be overestimated. A forcible illustration of this is afforded in the photographic supply trade, by the old established house of C. T. Shape & Co., whose Northwestern Photographic Stock Depot is located here. This prosperous business was established in 1861 by G. Bode, who conducted it till 1884, when Mr. C. T. Shape became the proprietor. The premises occupied are commodious, and the stock, which is one of the finest and most comprehensive in the city, includes all kinds of photographic apparatus, chemicals, accessories, etc. This establishment is headquarters for the most noted cameras, posing chairs, field outfits, photographic literature, etc., and the trade of the house now extends throughout the entire United States. Mr. Shape has gained an excellent reputation for his enterprise in securing everything of the latest improved character, and also for executing sound judgment in the selection of materials, so that the best results and the most perfect pictures can always be obtained. His workshops are fully equipped with modern appliances, operated by electric power, and only first-class operatives are employed. Mr. Shape is a native of Wisconsin. He is a progressive and honorable business man, who is fully alive to the rapid advancement of late years in the photographic art, and his success in this important industry is as substantial as it is well-merited.
In the August 1902 issue of The Photographic Times, a "tradenote" article mentions that EM Katz and CT Shape have been combined under the name of The Milwaukee Photo Material Company.
With that knowledge, we can safey assume that this mirror dates to no later than 1902. My best guess is that this item dates to 1896-98. Do you know the camera illustrated on the mirror case ? Please email your answer.
Back side of this 2 inch compact celluloid mirror.
Copyright 2013 AntiqueCameras.net
Mirror side of this 2 inch compact celluloid mirror.
1892 Advertisement by Shape
1889 Advertisement - note different address
1883 Advertisement - Note address and early partnership
BRASS LENSES AT EBAY
November 17, 2013
I am frequently asked how to ascertain the focal length and/or back focus of brass lenses, particularly Petzval lenses. Using everyday objects, its simple to measure the back focus of any lens within reasonable tolerances and without a big camera to lug around.
The basic method shown below is to use toilet paper or paper towel cardboard inner tubes to create a dark chamber for the lens. At the end of the dark chamber, use frosted scotch tape to create a ground glass. Stick the tube against the rear of the lens (carefully) and focus on something bright, at infinity. Once you've achieved infinity focus, the length of the tube needed to do so equals the back focus of the lens. Not scientifically precise, but close enough.
For Petzval lenses, you will find focal length (roughly), by taking the length of back focus and adding to that, the distance between the limiting stop (waterhouse slot) and the rear glass of the lens. Where there is no stop for a lens - measure from mid-barrel. So, a 1/2 plate Petzval might have an 5" back focus and a focal length of 7" as an example.
You can also upgrade from toilet and paper towel tubes by substituting any tube that is telescoping or is expandable. I have one of these:
Click to see this at amazon.com
Benjamin French marked Petzval - likely French made c. 1875
Voigtlander Whole Plate Petzval c. 1864
November 11, 2013
An article featuring Voigtlander's Brunswick (Braunschweig) lens factory. Published in The Photogram, Vol. 3, London 1896.
Voigtlander Whole Plate sized Petzval c. 1864
November 4, 2013
I recently purchased a small stash of old lenses and parts from Louisiana via the internet and a few crummy cell phone pictures. Apparently, the items were stored inside a wooden negative box in a barn for many years. Many of the lenses and parts are from the 1860-1880 period. One of the items of great interest to me in one of the cell phone pictures was a 1/4 plate sized Voigtlander Petzval lens with serial # 4237 which would date to roughly 1853.
When the box arrived I noticed the Voigtlander was missing its flange, lens hood and rack in pinion focusing drive. On top of that, the lens was cut for waterhouse stops ( this would have been post-original manufacture). Disappointing, but the whole lot didn't cost me all that much and the other items found alongside this lens more than made up for this lens.
Upon closer inspection of the lens I quickly realized this was not a genuine Voigtlander portrait lens, but appears to be a fake.. in all likelihood, this lens was fraudulently engraved as a Voigtlander. The glaring error by the engraver is laughable. Instead of engraving "Sohn" ("son" in German), it was engraved "Shon."
Wow, a spelling mistake. Upon greater inspection, the lower quality engraving becomes more noticeable. And, upon comparison with genuine Voigtlander lenses of this period ( c. 1852), many stylistic differences of the engraving are obvious - see images below. How many differences can you spot ?
Photographic literature from the 19th century does make mention of lenses being fraudulently inscribed with well known makers names in order to dupe unsuspecting buyers. This lens appears to be such an example. Interestingly, the lens cells of this lens are both cemented achromats, so its not even a Petzval lens - but a hodgepodge lens that barely can focus on the ground glass, a "hot mess" of a lens.
Some genuine Voigtlander lenses with their engravings are shown below. For the most part, their engravings were remarkably consistent stylistically, over a very long period. More about Voigtlander serial numbers can be found here.
# 611 c. 1842
Genuine Voigtlander lens - Serial # 611. Image Courtesy AntiqueCameras.net
# 3178 c. 1850
Genuine Voigtlander lens - Serial # 3178
# 3626 c. 1851
Genuine Voigtlander lens - Serial # 3626. Image Courtesy liveauctioneers.com
# 4033 c. 1852
Genuine Voigtlander lens - Serial # 4033. Image Courtesy liveauctioneers.com
# 4891 c. 1854
Genuine Voigtlander lens - Serial # 4891. Image Courtesy liveauctioneers.com
# 6670 c. 1857
Genuine Voigtlander lens - Serial # 6670
# 16674 c. 1864
Genuine Voigtlander lens. Serial # 16674. Image Courtesy AntiqueCameras.net
# 33267 c. 1888
Genuine Voigtlander lens. Serial # 33267. Image Courtesy AntiqueCameras.net
Here are some engraving differences I see compared to genuine lens # 3626
I also took a look at the construction details of the "fake" lens and compared it to a genuine Voigtlander. I circled a few of the differences I see.
December 1852 article mentioning guarding against fraudulent CC Harrison lenses.
November 1860 article mentioning Ross lenses being faked.
Another mention of fraudulent Ross lenses.
An 1888 mention about fraudulent lens vendors.
1906 article mentioning counterfeit and imitations lenses.
Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox ! Books will be written about this team and the year they just had.
On another note, congratulations to AdamTrcala, whose image of a Rolleiflex camera won this years image contest.
Thanks to everyone who submitted images and to those who voted.
Copyright Adam Trcala
1956 Leica M3 Camera and Summicron lens
c. 1908 Expo Watch Camera
October 27, 2013
Here are the finalists to the image contest. Please vote once below. Voting ends on Saturday, November 3rd. Thanks to everyone who submitted images.
Image # 1 Pentax Spotmatic
Copyright Paul Bailey
Image # 2 Voigtlander Folding Camera
Copyright Anton Orlov
Image # 3 Pentax 6x7 Camera
Copyright Pierrick Boffy
Image # 4 Rolleiflex TLR
Copyright Adam Trcala
Image # 5 Reporter with Press Camera
Copyright Marcin Labedzki
BRASS LENSES AT EBAY
October 5, 2013
The 3rd Annual Antique & Classic Camera
Today starts the 3rd annual Antique & Classic Camera photo contest. Images submitted for this contest must include within the image, an Antique or Classic Camera(s), Lens(es), or any other related photographica. The image can be created by any means - digitial capture, analog or whatever process you like.
Remember: the subject must contain an Antique or Classic camera, lens or related item.
Among all the entries, I will select the top 5 or 6 images and then post those on my website for viewers to vote on to select the final winning image.
Winning photographer will receive$ 100.00 CASHsent via paypal.
If your image is selected as one of the 5 or 6 finalists, it will be showcased on this website and/or this Blog. You will be credited for the image and all rights remain with you forever. We do reserve the right to permanently leave or display a copy of your image (with full credits) on antiquecameras.net
The top 5 or 6 images will be selected based upon originality, aesthetic appeal and subject interest (keeping in mind the Antique & Classic camera/lens theme of my website).
Limit of 3 images per person and in JPEG format.
I am accepting images now through October 19th. On or about October 26th, the 5 or 6 finalist images will be posted on this blog for voting by the viewers of my site. Voting will finish on November 2nd. Final image winner to receive prize no later than November 9th, 2013.
THE IMAGE MUST INCLUDE AN ANTIQUE OR CLASSIC CAMERA, LENS OR OTHER PHOTOGRAPHICA (otherwise crassly known as "Camera Porn"). The image can be of anything as long as a camera, lens or photographica is included within the image.
Last Sunday, a lens popped up on eBay...There it was...shiny and bright...a C.C. Harrison 1/4 plate Petzval lens... serial number 181. Yes, 181. One of the earliest serial numbers I know of. And, of course, it features a tangential drive. The first four or five hundred of Harrison's lenses (haven't yet nailed down the exact number yet) featured the European tangential drive (c. 1849-1851). Then, these lenses went to a square radial drive in about 1851 and finally to the round radial drive about 1854 (see post below dated Sept. 15th).
Opening bid was $ 1,250. I figured I would need to spend about $ 3,000 to make this lens mine. A typical 1/4 plate Harrison might bring $ 1,000 or so, but this one was early and I figured there would be lots of competition. On the 7th and final day of the auction, there was only one bid. With a few hours left, I started my bidding... and the bidding war began. By the time the auction was about to close, I made my final bid, $ 8,253.00. That's no typo. I was willing to spend over eight grand to own that sucker, but alas, the other bidder apparently needed it more than me and outbid me and the auction closed at $ 8,353.00. Ouch.
Interestingly, the high bidder only had a feedback score of 10, so it appears this person is relatively new to eBay. I also found it interesting that nobody else bid on this gem. Just me and the high bidder....
Images of this fine specimen courtesy of the seller, Allen Weiner, long time NYC dealer of fine photographica (ebay username amwcameras).
More visual treats brought to you by Historic New England
Frank B. Clench (1838-1914), hailing from Niagra, Ontario (Canada), was a prolific photographer during the last forty years of the 19th century. Wilson’s Photographic Magazine described Clench as a “painstaking and progressive artist," and in 1890, a "famed baby photographer."
Clench opened his first photographic studio in Lockport, New York in 1863. Lockport is located 30 miles from Niagra.
Image courtesy of Dick Sheaff and http://www.sheaff-ephemera.com/
Circa 1864 CDV from Clench. Image courtesy ebay user midwestreverselogistics2
After a high succesful run in Lockport for over 25 years, Clench moved to Fariport, NY - about 80 miles east of Lockport. After operating in Lockport for the next 13 years, Clench moved to Madison, GA for the following dozen years, only to return to Fairport, NY in 1914 - the year he also passed away.
Given the number of extant CDVs, Stereoviews and Cabinet Cards by Clench, it's clear he produced a significant number of photographs during his lifetime. Clench also wrote a few articles in photographic journals in the late 1870s and in the 1880s, including this one about how to handle and please customers.
Clench would also patent and license a new type of photograph called, the Plaque. Advertising described it as, "a cabinet size picture, mounted on specially designed cards, vignetted and depressed concave in a deep circular cameo form to represent a plaque."
The 1882 patent for the plaque can be found here. In 1894, Wilson's Cyclopedic Photography had the following entry for this type of picture:
A more detailed explanation was provided in The Philadelphia Photographer in December 1882
An 1882 advertisement for Clench's new product
Examples of Plaque pictures shown in the December 1882 issue of The Photographic Times
Like most talented studio photographers of the late 19th century, distinguishing oneself from the competition was vital to a succesful business. As such, even Clench wasn't immune to "trick" photography to show his skills, including double exposures or "doubles" as they were sometimes called at the time.
Below is a double exposure of the subject of this post, Frank B. Clench.
Copyright AntiqueCameras.net 2013
Multiple exposures go back at least to the early 1860s with CDVs and tintypes. While I have not seen purposeful, multiple exposure Daguerreotype images, by the 1860s, double and multiple exposure "tricks" were being executed by talented photographers with CDVs and other mediums. Many examples can be seen here.
Another fairly well known double exposure of (presumably) a photographer is owned by the Library of Congress. This is from 1893 and is marked on the reverse, A.H. Wheeler, Berlin Wisconsin. This particular image has been reproduced many times as an example of a late 19th century double exposure.
How were these images created? Well, the standard reference on "trick" photography is the book, Photographic Amusements by Walter E. Woodbury. First published in 1896, the 9th edition is available online to read, thanks to google. Page 106 describes "doubles" and other multiple exposure methods.
Interesting Daguerreotype material on EBAY
BRASS LENSES AT EBAY
September 15, 2013
I recently acquired a C.C. Harrison 1/4 plate Petzval lens serial number 1,571. This lens features the square radial drive housing that many US made Petzval lenses of the circa 1851-1854 period have.
On the left, is the well known, round radial drive housing as found on a c. 1858 Holmes, Booth & Haydens portrait lens. On the right, is the square housing found on US made lenses of the 1851-1854 period. This date has been based triangulated based on extant lenses, contemporary literature and known serial number records. It appears that in 1850 or 1851, the radial drive replaced the tangential drive on US made lenses. The first radial drives featured this square housing, and by about 1854, a round housing replaced it and became the standard design for the next twenty years or so. This date is also supported by noting that Holmes, Booth & Haydens entered the lens market in early 1854 and their lens, serial # 80, features the squared drive (see http://hbh.gordonmoat.com/ ), but just a few hundred lenses later, their lenses are found with round housings.
Illustration showing square housing from The Photographic Art-Journal May 1853
What is so fascinating about this particular lens is what's found on the back of the flange. The entire flange is marked off in degrees as if it were a protractor. While there are specific numeric markings from -0- to -120- degrees in increments of -10-, the entire flange is ticked off for 360 degrees.
What's the purpose ? I'm stumped. If you have a theory, email me and I'd be happy to post your thoughts on this blog post. Email me.
Scovill Daguerreotype Token
Daguerreotype of a fine lady with her gold jewelry highlighted
Tintype of young man and his wet plate camera - EBAY