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Thread: Tripod post screw

  1. #1

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    Tripod post screw

    A friend got me a "Folmer & Schwing collapsible camera stand" from the 1920's. It is wooden, matches my deardorff, and they look kinda cool together. Surprisingly light, though the center column is a solid cylindrical piece of timber, about 3-4 inches across (would make a good club) and thus far seems to be pretty stable too for flat surface use.

    The tripod head consists of two flat piece of wood with one piece laying flat on top of the other and both attached together at one side by a hinge. The piece on the bottom connects to the tripod post by a collar. The flat piece on the top has a worn felt top, with a hole and tripod screw stuck through it, to be attached to the camera. You can adjust the hinged pieces to provide a degree of tilt to this head, and tighten it that way so your camera can point up or down.

    Anyway, when I tried to attach my deardorrf to it, the tripod post screw did not seem to fit. The width of the screw was about right, the problem seems to be the space difference between the grooves on the screw (forgot the technical name for this)

    Were the tripod screws not standard-sized back then? The dorff fits fine on the other modern tripods that I have

    Anyone have nay more info on thse stands?

  2. #2
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod post screw

    It's very possible that the screw has been replaced in the intervening decades, or that the screw wasn't "standard" when new. Even now, I still see new equipment with the 3/8-16 thread as well as the 1/4-20 "standard" tripod mount thread, and equipment with that thread was common in Europe into the 1950s, possibly even 1960s (my Moskva-5, made in 1959, has 3/8-16 sockets, though one can't point to Soviet cameras as being very standard in any way). What you describe, a variation in thread pitch, might well have been either an attempt at lock-in (you can only use our acessories after buying our camera, because the other brand won't fit), evidence of weak standards (though I have three German cameras from the 1920s with then-standard 3/8-16 sockets, I don't know what American cameras were doing in those years), or evidence of competing standards.

    I'd suggest replacing the screw with one that fits your Dorff, but carefully storing the original, so you can return the tripod to original condition if that becomes desirable at some later date...
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  3. #3
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod post screw

    All of my old German cameras - 1900 to 1960 - have 3/8"-16 tripod thread. It's funny that a US thread should be better standardised in Germany than in the USA...

  4. #4

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    Re: Tripod post screw

    "It's funny that a US thread should be better standardised in Germany than in the USA..."

    British Standard Whitworth is a US thread?

    Best,
    Helen

  5. #5

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    Re: Tripod post screw

    Alot of my cameras have 3/8" screws. Some have 1/4" inserts so if you don't look closely you'd think it was a 1/4".

  6. #6
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod post screw

    It's an English thread size standard, not US - doh
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  7. #7
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod post screw

    Oops - sorry. I've fallen in the common trap of assuming that anyone who insists on inches must be USAmerican.

    Of course the threads are Imperial, not US.

  8. #8

    Re: Tripod post screw

    Helen,

    AARRGGHH!! Whitworth! The accursed pitch/threading of English sports car parts. A pox upon it. And it's decendants.

  9. #9
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod post screw

    The good news is, a 1/4-20 Whit hole will accept a 1/4-20 NC bolt; same is true of 3/8-16 (this is good news because it means you can usually get tripod hole bushings at the local hardware store instead of only at camera stores). The biggest differences between Whitworth and NC threads are that Whitworth is 55 degree instead of 60 degree, and has a rounded top and bottom instead of flat truncated top and bottom. Unless both are made to zero-tolerance dimensions, you can usually put the US National Coarse (or National Fine, depending on the pitch of the Whit) into the Whit, but frequently not the other way.
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

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