Well, heck! If only it were as logical as a simple alphabetic code. Other than a few of the Goerz lenses made during the transition period, Schneider has been using the same sequential serial numbering scheme since 1919 - and Rodenstock even longer (since at least 1910). Other than Goerz (which started as a German company), all the other American lens manufacturers seemed to change serial numbering schemes mid-stream at some point during the 1940s. Kodak changed to their CAMEROSITY based system (but at least had the good sense to provide us with a decoder keyword). Bausch & Lomb and Wollensak both changed, too. Problem is they didn't provide a decoder key to help us figure out how old our lenses are.
Any idea if the two Wollensak serial numbering schemes co-existed? Perhaps Les Newcomer has some insight? Both styles of serial numbers are clearly shown in my 1954 Wollensak catalog, but that doesn't necessarily mean the lenses shown inthe pictures were all made in 1954. Some could have been older stock product photos.
I also know Wollensak made a lot of lenses for the military, and they were an OEM producer of lenses for Graphlex, and possibly others. Perhaps different serial number sequences were used for different customers? Or perhaps there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to Wollensak serial numbers and the seach for an answer is futile.