While my collecting focus has always been on photographic hardware (cameras, lenses etc..), my interests have expanded to include software (images) over the last few years, and most specifically an interest in Daguerreotypes and learning about the earliest days of photography. As such, my personal library has greatly expanded and I am constantly on the prowl for new reading material.
In searching Google books, I came across a FREE book first published in 1998, The Silver Canvas : Daguerreotypes Masterpieces from the J. Paul Getty Museum by Bates & Isabel Lowry. This is a tremendously well written and researched book and its free on Google - the entire book - you can even download a pdf copy to your computer. The text not only covers some amazing Daguerreotypes, but it's also a general history of early photography in America and abroad.
Click the image below to find the book on Google.
Other titles that I can highly recommend and are part of my library are shown below
For those of you that don't already know, Dallmeyer lens production records have been posted online after many years of planning by the owner (now deceased) Sean MacKenna. These valuable records can be found here. There is a significant amount of data and we should all be incredibly grateful to the MacKenna family for making these publicly available.
One of the images shown on Sean's site shows the Dallmeyer crew standing around their 1913 masterpiece, a 12 inch diameter Dallmeyer Patent Portrait Lens with a focal length of 46 inches (1175mm).
An article (press release) about this beast of a lens was circulated among many photography magazines in 1913 and 1914.
Almost since the beginning of Daguerreotypy, opticians competed, mostly for bragging rights, to make the largest portrait lenses. C.C. Harrison, Andrew Ross and Voigtlander were are few of the earliest to compete (1850s and 60s) in making some very large portrait (Petzval) lenses. In 1864, Voigtlander produced a Petzval lens with 8 inch diameter lenses. This was given serial number 16,000 and was a point of pride for Voigtlander and put on display. As the years passed, attempts to make larger and faster lenses continued leading up to the Dallmeyer lens shown above. But again, these were typically custom made or "one-off" lenses and were not produced for regular trade.
In 1904 however, Bausch & Lomb came out with a very fast and large Petzval, known as their Portrait Lens B, with an aperture of F/2.2. While "only" featuring lens diameters ranging from 4 to 7 inches, the enormous aperture makes this a big lens. The lens was featured in the 1904 lens catalogue from Bausch & Lomb and appears to have been on the market for only a few years. Production was likely very small given the costs and logistics of using such a large lens.
"The Camera" Magazine May 1904
B&L 1904 Catalogue page
Image Courtesy of Cowans Auction House
February 7, 2014
In the early 1880s, amateur photography, fueled by the availability of reliable dry plates, exploded. With that, every bit of equipment that could be sold to amateurs soon filled catalogues. One such item from Scovill was their W.I.A. Dry Plate Lantern. The lantern, with its ruby red filter, was made to provide a light source for the photographer to load and unload sensitized plates as well as to develop them. The need for a lantern was explained in Scovill's 1883 Book, "How to Make Photographs."
This lantern was sold over a fairly long period, first as part of a kit "for the field" which included a dozen dry pates, a focusing cloth and the WIA lantern. Later on (as late as 1896), the lantern was sold individually at a price of 60 cents.
Finding one today is not extremely difficult, however when found, they are typically in poor to fair condition given their intended purpose. Finding an example in excellent condition is much more difficult, and finding one that may never have been used* with its original box is just plain rare. Such a beast appeared on Ebay last week and fetched $ 340.
*The ebay seller claims this example is NOS ( New old stock). While there are plenty of areas of corrosion, that could be caused by 120 years of metal/chemical decomposition and environmental conditions, rather than any use of the item. Assuming the wick is original, that looks unused.
Image Courtesy of Ebay User kaluacat_camera
Image Courtesy of Ebay User kaluacat_camera
Image Courtesy of Ebay User kaluacat_camera
The patent for the lantern is shown below. Originally, this lantern was sold as Steven's Patent Pocket Lantern and eventually sold as the Dietz Pocket Lantern (as printed on the Scovill lantern). The Photographic version of this lantern featured a ruby red glass filter (making its light insensitive to the dry plates) while versions made for traveling and other purposes featured a piece of clear glass in the lantern to allow for the brightest possible light.
Click the image to see the full patent
January 26, 2014
I would like to bring your attention to a fantastic book, "Photographic lenses of the 1800’s in France," by Corrado D'Agostini. Although residing in Florence (Firenze), the author published the book in English (translated), which I appreciate having only limited ability with other languages.
Here is more about the book and the author from his website :
"The book is the result of long research conducted by the author in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and England.The rarest examples from the nineteenth century production of optics are illustrated alongside more famous and popular examples. Descriptions accompany the images, allowing scholars, collectors, and enthusiasts of photography to identify the objects.
The author is a psychiatrist. He teaches Clinical Psychology at the University of Florence. Focusing on the development of optics in the 19th century, he has been researching the history of photography for many years. A second book dedicated to the history of lenses in Germany and Austria as well as a third book on lenses in England is forthcoming. Perhaps in another life the author will write a book on the history of optics in the United States."
I took a brief video as a randomly turned a few pages of the book to give you a better sense of the size and scope of the book. Video was taken at 720HD - adjust Youtube setting to watch in HD
PHOTOGRAPHIC LENSES OF THE 1800'S IN FRANCE with contributions by Ugo Minichini
Bandecci & Vivaldi 2011, ENGLISH text; hardcover, 11 1/2 x 8 1/2" (oblong), 372 pages, color illustrations.
For a large part of the 19th century French manufacturers of lenses and cameras were preeminent and among the most prestigious in the field of photography, creating examples of the highest quality. This book describes the photographic lenses produced by eight French companies which influenced the course of history in France and throughout Europe in the nineteenth century. The lenses of smaller companies, as well as special lenses that allowed for various focal lengths, are also included. For the first time, we have a book that shows (300 dpi) color images of the most important production of photographic lenses from the early 1800's when photography was invented, to the end of the century. Extremely rare examples, only on view at specialized museums and in private collections, are illustrated in technical-historical and aesthetic detail for enjoyment of collectors. The book is the result of long research conducted by the author in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and England. The rarest examples from the nineteenth century production of optics are illustrated alongside more famous and popular examples. Descriptions accompany the images, allowing scholars, collectors, and enthusiast of photography to identify the objects.
Table of Contents: Foreword Introduction I Berthiot II Chevalier III Darlot IV Derogy V Hermagis VI Jamin VII Lerebours et Secretan VIII Soleil IX Smaller French makers
X Convertible Lenses Bibliography Acknowledgements
Below are more images from the book, provided by and shown with the permission of the author.
There are so very few books written about antique photographic lenses and the ones that do exist typically cover the broad scope of lens development. This book is an in-depth study of 19th century French opticians and lens makers of various sizes and historical importance. This books digs deeply into the historical background of each lens maker/optician and the lenses they designed and produced. And, given France was the epicenter of early photographic lens making, the information provided in the book gives you a sense of the big picture (lens development) as well as the details (dating lenses, manufacturer markings, production figures).
Throw in hundreds of high quality, full color images of these lenses, and you have a must have book for any camera or lens collector. This book really is a treasure. There is also a good deal of information about the Giroux cameras including many, never-seen-before, images of that uber rare camera.
Fellow brass lens fanatic, Maurits Bollen, has written a review of this book as well, which can be found here. Rather than repeat what he wrote, I'd say this in summary about this book:
The book isn't perfect, but it's absolutely fantastic and worthy of any bookshelf. It's worth every penny and it has no peer in my opinion. The incredible amount of time and effort that went in to producing this encyclopedia-like book is clearly evident when you begin reading. I am looking forward to the author's next book on German & Austrian lenses.
If you want to buy the book, I know of two ways:
Contact the author directly at codagosATtin.it Replace the "AT" with "@" for his email address.
The book is also available from www.camerabooks.com(great place for camera related books). Be prepared, this book isn't inexpensive with shipping factored in ( book $ 139 + shipping ). Nor should it be, its a big, heavy book with good quality paper stock. And, if you collect lenses, this book will save you money by helping you be informed, especially when it comes to ensuring certain lenses have all their original parts. BUY THE BOOK !!
January 17, 2014
Happy New Year.
I am very pleased to announce that I have updated my Petzval Lens article and it was recently published by The Photographic Historical Society of New England. Click here to see the article.
December 24, 2013
Having collected photographica for the last 22 years and being from New England, I've had the good fortune to discuss collecting with two of the greatest collectors of my time, Thurman "Jack" Naylor and Matt Isenburg. Matt resides in Connecticut with his family. Jack passed in 2007 at the age of 88.
I first met Jack, who lived just 25 miles away, in the early 90s. He was gracious enough to invite my wife and I to his home for a private tour of his museum, located in his basement. This is where I saw his "first" collection. While we were made to feel incredibly special that day, Jack had toured countless other folks at his home over the years. He was generous and gracious to those he met and shared his passion. Years later, I went back to his home and saw the second collection that he amassed. I appreciated the opportunity to see so much in one place and to hear such wonderful stories. While fellow collectors loved seeing Jack at shows and auctions, if he was bidding on an item you knew you weren't going to win. Disappointing, most folks didn't mind "losing out" to such a great character and someone who gave so much to the hobby with his long time support of the Photographic Historical Society of New England. Unfortunately, Jack passed away in 2007. It was a sad day when the news came out of his passing. However, Jack certainly lives on in people's minds and hearts. He was someone you don't easily forget. His obituary can be found here.
Below is a panoramic view of part of his basement museum.
Credit: H. B. Lewis
Credit: H. B. Lewis
I've never met Matt Isenburg in person. However, in late 2010, I reached out to Matt via email as I was in the process of purchasing my first American Daguerreotype camera and didn't know how to fully authenticate it or judge its condition/completeness. Matt went out of his way to help. After exchanging several emails, he told me to just give him a call. That phone call led to more phone calls where we would discuss early American photographic equipment (1839-79 period). This was a new area of collecting focus for me and Matt is the leading authority on the subject. Fast forward to early 2012, Matt invited me to his home to see his collection. I couldn't wait. However, due to various scheduling conflicts that trip never happened. Then, in July of 2012, Matt sold his entire collection, which came as big news to the collecting community. You can see the details of that $ 15 million sale by clicking here. I couldn't believe I had just missed the opportunity to spend time with Matt and his collection. Big missed opportunity. Like Jack Naylor, Matt generously had folks to his home to view his (attic based) museum.
Oh well, the phone conversations and emails I had with Matt were priceless and most enjoyable. During one call, Matt asked if I collected early images or only early cameras and lenses ("hardware"). I responded, "mostly hardware." Matt went on to explain to me that he had figured that by only collecting the equipment, but not its artistic output (images) seemed very incomplete from a collecting perspective (I'm paraphrasing). Since that conversation, I've focused some of my attention to Daguerreotypes and other early images. What he said made a lot sense to me. Since I was about 10 years old, I've been fascinated with photography and specifically how a mechanical device can capture fleeting moments of time. But, as a collector I was only focused on collecting the cameras and not the images that are produced by the equipment. It's like loving Impressionist Paintings but only collecting paint brushes and palettes, never an actual painting ? Simple, but profound from a collecting standpoint.
A significant amount of Matt's former collection can be seen at Luminous Lint. (scroll down, lower left of page). While I find that site's navigation a bit difficult, you can spend hours looking at Matt (and others) world class collections.
Below is an image of various American Daguerreotype Cameras that were in Matt's collection. Copyright Matt Isenburg and shown with his permission.
Since that conversation with Matt, I've purchased about 20 Daguerreotypes. Most are simple portraits in the $ 40 to $ 200 range. There is a lot to learn about collecting early images and I am just a beginner at this point, however I did join The Daguerriean Society, which was co-founded in 1989 by Matt Isenburg.
One of the most serious issues facing the Dag collector is the condition of the plate. Collectors place the highest value on those Dags that haven't been cleaned and remain as they were created albeit with 160 odd years of aging. Tarnish rings, especially those that follow the outline of the Dag's mat, are often a sign the plate has never been cleaned. So, some collectors embrace tarnish (as a signal of an untampered surface) while others detest it as it robs the image of detail and clarity. I, like others, maintain a love-hate relationship with tarnish (or "toning" as its called in the coin collecting world). However, I recently came across a Dag that's tarnish is more artistic than the actual image.
If you'd like to learn more about Daguerreotypes, you can visit The Daguerreian Society Website and freely download their high quality quarterly publication.
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
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
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.
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