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Thread: Suter serial numbers and dates.

  1. #1

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    Suter serial numbers and dates.

    Suter's products have always been of special interest to me, especialy the large fast Euroskop type.
    There is, apparently, a dearth of catalogues and uncertainty about serial numbers and date of production.

    I am pretty sure that the data in Lens Vade Mecum is reasonably correct. That is, that Suter were a late starting firm - just before 1890. This is in some contradiction with the date given to Suter Petzvals in auctions and the Dan's article on Petzvals which talks about the 1850's!

    Obviously, there are a lot of Suters around and in use, so this won't be an attempt to list all. But there are a few model change markers which might help:

    1. The engravings on Petzvals changed at some stage (twice?).
    2. The anastigmatic series (I and III) were introduced.
    3. The rapid aplanat became series B and the series A (F.6) began.
    4. The F.5 rapid aplanat introduced (US F scale and modern F scale).
    5. When the licensed Zeiss protars were made.
    5. Plasmats introduced.
    6. Landscape meniscus production.
    7. Stella(r) production.

    I thought I could start with making some lists of products with serial numbers based on earlier posts here as well as my own collection. Which could then be added to?

    This would be an ideal place for any Suter catalogues to be posted - if anyone has one!
    Last edited by Steven Tribe; 9-Feb-2017 at 13:10.

  2. #2

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    Re: Suter serial numbers and dates.

    An example:

    serial number 577 is a 42cm ordinary F.8 Aplanat - no series marking at this date.

  3. #3

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    Re: Suter serial numbers and dates.

    I have now approximately 40 suter serial numbers with series identification. I'll try and make a table in the next few days.
    Two lenses, 2,482 and 4,673, have a sole agent engraving, Allen Bros., which Dan mentioned at some time and which also appears in the lens VM (late 1880's early 1890's).

    There are quite a lot of surviving Suter cameras with original suter lenses. One from 1905 has serial no. 35,927. The date of the anastigmatic Suter Swiss patent is 1900 and the earliest anastigmatic serial number I can find is 22,309.

    So some progress, I think.

  4. #4
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: Suter serial numbers and dates.

    Steven, if it helps I have a series B #6 that has a serial number 3052. Love the lens and need to use it more.

  5. #5

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    Re: Suter serial numbers and dates.

    Jim, this is quite an early B aplanat. The earliest I have at the moment is a 2482 (Allen Bros. Sole agent). Of course, the unmarked, earlier aplanat, are also F.8 versions, like the B series.

    It is obvious that Suter made only a few Zeiss lenses under licence compared with their own 8 lens anastigmat.
    Last edited by Steven Tribe; 9-Feb-2017 at 13:02.

  6. #6
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: Suter serial numbers and dates.

    It is in nice condition as well. Glass is clean. Like I said I need to use it more. I'm thinking late 1800's or early 1900's?

  7. #7

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    Re: Suter serial numbers and dates.

    Well before 1900 - around 1890.

    Now up over 60 lenses. Including a Landscape lens and the double plasmat.

    I get the impression that the F5 Stella is a rebadged F5 Rapid Aplanat from looking at their serial numbers!

  8. #8

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    Re: Suter serial numbers and dates.

    I don't know if this is the place for members to post data on their random Suter lenses, but here is the information on mine:

    E. Suter Basle
    No 4079
    Aplanat B No 5
    13 x 11

    Rough measure of focal length around 15" to 16" (380mm to 406mm)

    Lots of patina on barrel, a large ding in the hood partially and crudely straightened, glass excellent with just a few small spots of separation around the periphery of the rear group.

    No flange or waterhouse stops. Made a temporary stop from black construction paper around f16 to f22 to look at the image on the GG. Made a temporary lens board from 1/8" Masonite and screwed the lens directly into the board. Image looked good. Plan to make stops, mount the lens on a board, and install a Packard shutter that I have behind the lens board.

    I posted on this lens once before. Saw it on Ebay and thought it was a fake because the city of origin appeared to be misspelled. Dan Fromm quickly schooled me on the spelling issue. Decided to take a chance on it and won the auction.

  9. #9

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    Re: Suter serial numbers and dates.

    I have looked for the various series and serial numbers here, ebay (Old and new), older auctions as well as a few from Lens VM.

    There is no sign of Suter lenses before around 1888.

    There was an agent in London called J.R. Gotz (Same name as Goetz!) who was active from 1888 (BTP and RPS sources). He doesn't appeared to have engraved his import Suters. Allen Bros. in the US did engrave on at least some of his lenses. There are serial numbers covering perhaps 2 years (2482 and 4673). I don't have a firm date for Allen's agency period, but have seen one place it was 1890-2.
    A first attempt for some benchmarks is as follows:

    1888 - no. 577 early F8 aplanat pre-B series.

    1890 - no. 2482. Allen Bros. import

    1892?- no.4469. Allen Bros. import B aplanat no. 4^

    1892 - no. 4673. Allen Bros. import

    1900 - no. 22309 recorded date of Swiss Patent for their anastigmat

    1905 - no. 35927 lens mounted on catalogue dated Suter folding camera


    1920 - no. 45355 Double Plasmat patent Rudolf 1918


    It would be nice to have a middle 90's benchmark.

    Next post will be first and last (At the moment!) serial numbers for the various series.
    Last edited by Steven Tribe; 25-Nov-2017 at 09:46. Reason: update nov 2017 ^

  10. #10

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    Re: Suter serial numbers and dates.

    These are the first and last serial numbers I have at the moment for the usual models.

    I have now (July 2017) included the few Petzvals I have data on. These appear to be a smaller part of Suter's production during the whole period. The first series used expressions like Cabinet as well as size numbers. The early ones seem to be F3.2 and the later are marked usually. Amongst the later, there is a size 5 bis, which is about F.4.5.

    Portrait Petzvals

    First 904 No size markings.
    1469. Cabinet no. 4 ^
    14840. Rapid Portrait lens no. 4 ^
    Last 23840. no. 5 bis. F.4.5 ^

    Aplanat F.8

    577
    3683 no engraving other than suter basel serial number^

    Aplanat B F.8

    first 2482
    4468#
    last 13558

    Aplanat A. F.6

    first 7321
    last 39501

    Aplanat C , F 12

    none known as of december 2017!

    Landscape Meniscusearly models with WHS /Later versions with iris F.12

    first 9079 no.3
    9081 no.3^
    last 30367



    Rapid Aplanat F.5

    first 13485
    last 35072


    Stella F.5 Smaller ones black finish/larger ones brass finish

    first 39090
    46801 360mm brass finish^
    last 47531

    Anastigmat various series (Reported as "new" in German Photographic Yearbook 1901)

    first 22309
    last 46585

    Double Plasmat

    first 4522x
    last. 4559x

    Serial numbers earlier or later than these would be welcome!

    serial numbers marked ^ have added since the original posting.

    From August 2017, I will start adding a few serial numbers which are close to the known first and last serial numbers, as well as those that illustrate production throughout.
    Last edited by Steven Tribe; 1-Dec-2017 at 07:41. Reason: aplanat C added dec. 2017

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