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Thread: Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

  1. #11

    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    Dan,

    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.

    Kerry

  2. #12

    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    I have a Wolly Varium and Vitax from the 1920 or 30s which came in no. 5 Studio shutters. The serial number on the Varium's barrel is higher (by ~3,000) than that of the Vitax, however the Studio Shutter on the Vitax is higher (by ~200) than that of the Varium. There are of course many explanations for why this might be. Mine has always been that there is no correspondence, at least in the early years.

  3. #13

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    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    Kerry, the last time I checked with Les he was adamant that Wolly serial numbers couldn't be decoded. Its been a while since we exchanged e-mails, so I'll bug him to see if he knows more than he used to.

    After I had three Enlarging Pro Raptars s/n D and one taking Pro Raptar s/n E in hand, I surmised that perhaps D and E referred to design families.

    Sort of like Elcan serial numbers, which have the form nnn-nnnn, with the first digits identifying the design, the last four identifying the lens, and the last four running sequentially from start to end of production. My Elcans' serial numbers are consistent with those of other Elcans I've seen, and Leitz Canada and sucessors probably never did make 10,000 examples of their aerial camera lenses.

    Anyway, now my bubble is burst too.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  4. #14

    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    Hi there,

    Lets get silly

    Vitax 13 in #361X

    Vitax 10in #474X

    Vitax 16in #481X

    Velostigmat Series I Optimo 'pattent appld. for' #883x

    Velo Series II Optimo pat. June 14,1910 #1921X

    Velo Series II Optimo newer style #13919X

    Velo Series Ia Triple Conv. Auto shutter pat Aug 13, 1912 #18269X

    Velo Series II adjustable soft focus old style studio shutter #1574x

    velo SeriesII adjustable soft focus newer barrel #23813X (1920s?)

    velo SeriesII barrel #24546x(1920s?)

    veo SerieII barrel #24438x(1920s?)

    velo Series II alphax #48160X (latest Velo. I have)

    raptar rapax shutter purple logo #56319X

    raptar alphax shutter purple logo #55795x

    a lovely collection of raptars with #A, B, C, D, E but I have never seen a #F, G, ect. on Wollensak lenses, they used #Gxxxx on Optars for Graflex. I really do think they just ran their numbers in sequence since they started.

    The plot thickens!!!

  5. #15

    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    Kerry, the pages I copied from the Wollensak lens book (sorry I don't know the publication date) show lenses all having unlettered numbers in the 8xx,xxx range and Rapax shutters. The listing for the 159 is as the f/9.5 version. My 159 is an f/12.5 569,xxx in a Rapax.

  6. #16

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    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    Velostigmat Ser. II 3"/4.5 452779, uncoated, in a tiny Rapax.

    The rest are coated, including the TeleOptar that bears no mark (Wolly or Graflex) that can be interpreted as "this here lens is coated." All lenses in barrel unless noted otherwise.

    50/4.5 Micro Raptar 729528

    Graflex TeleOptar 250/5.6 753205, in Graphex

    65/6.8 Raptar 814868, in Rapax

    5 3/8" (135 mm)/5.6 Enlarging Pro Raptar D10015

    2" (50 mm)/4 EPR D42292

    4"/5.6 EPR D58026, no mention of metric units

    160/5.6 Pro Raptar E56542 , in blue-faced Rapax

    All mine at one time, most still here. The TeleOptar will go to eBay one of these days.

    I'll entertain cock-eyed theories. It will take a lot of effort to convince me that there's just one series, though.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  7. #17

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    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    The 159 lens was sold in both coated and uncoated versions. The term "Velostigmat" was used for the uncoated lenses, "Raptar" signified the coated version. At least that's my understanding though I forget where I heard it. I've owned two of the F9.5 versions of the 159 Wollensak, both of mine were uncoated Velostigmats designeated as "Series IIIA." I have no idea how to date these things but both of mine were fine for contact prints (and try finding any other lens in the 150mm range that comes in a shutter, covers 8x10, and sells for about $200: - ))
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #18

    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    Kerry,

    Here is what mine is.

    Wollensak Anast. Extreme W.A. 6 1/4" (159mm) f 12.5 Serial No. 9565xx in Alphax Synchromatic
    shutter. I'm sorry, but I can't say what year it was made.

    DG

  9. #19

    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    The 159 lens was sold in both coated and uncoated versions. The term "Velostigmat" was used for the uncoated lenses, "Raptar" signified the coated version.

    So, what about Wollensak lenses that are labeled neither Velostigmat nor Raptar? The 159mm I just bought, and the other one mentioned above are both coated (and bear the "Wocoted" symbol), but are both called simply "Anastigmat Extreme W.A.". I have seen several other contemporary Wollensak lenses that carry the Raptar trade name (including the 90mm and 108mm f6.8 Wide Angles), but I don't recall ever seeing a 159mm f12.5 Extreme W.A. labeled as a Raptar.

    Kerry

  10. #20
    the Docter is in Arne Croell's Avatar
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    Age of Wollensak 6" (159mm) Extreme W.A.

    2 more datapoints:

    Uncoated "8x10 Series EX.W.A. f/12.5 61/4" focus" in Alphax serial no. 307984

    coated 210mm f/5.6 Pro Raptar in blue Rapax, serial no. E56431

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