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Thread: Need Grubb Lens Expertise

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Re: Need Grubb Lens Expertise

    Well done. In all modesty, you forgot to mention that you also found the sizes for the aplanatic doublet (which Grubb claimed was purloined by Dallmeyer re. the RR!) which appears to be very rare.
    But I don't understand why all the Grubb aplanatics we have found, have such low numbers if they were still available in the 1880's?

    The new "A", c/o Peterloy, looks like the same size (proportions) as my "A".

    A bit more information about Grubb is that the original London agent for Grubb at the start of the 1860's was (Israel) Joseph Solomon of Russell Square who ceased trading around 1872. Perhaps Watson took over the agency at this time?

  2. #12

    Re: Need Grubb Lens Expertise

    In trying to crack the Grubb code, I ran across references to Grubb's telescopes.... I found an 1888 Grubb Telescope catalogue with plenty of references to "Class B" and "Class C" telescopes. And then references to Specifications "A" and "B" which appear to relate to build quality... Please see this link to an 1888 Grubb Catalogue.. I am now thinking the letters on the photo lenses have to do with max aperture size of the lens or stops supplied?


    PS - it references Grubb's swith to Watsons as agent too...

    Antique & Classic Camera Blog

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Re: Need Grubb Lens Expertise

    Tempting to think of A,B and C as quality gradings - a great shock for B and C owners!
    I don't think it can be correct as there are, at least, E's around (5 quality grades seems unlikely).
    If it is aperture size, then there should be more As than Bs etc.?

  4. #14

    Re: Need Grubb Lens Expertise

    I think it has to do with aperture size. Remember Grubb's lens was touted as using faster apertures than similiar landscape lenses of the day. Given Grubb's focus on aperture - it must relate to that...


    Antique & Classic Camera Blog

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Re: Need Grubb Lens Expertise

    I have found a mention of the Grubb code system in an 1861 photographic note!
    Just a passing remark, but it means that C coded lenses are designed for 10x8" coverage. So A and B are for smaller formats. I would imagine that the numeral indicates the maximum speed of the lens.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails image.jpeg  

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Re: Need Grubb Lens Expertise

    Here is a very basic list of Grubb serial numbers which I have gathered during the last few days.
    There is an advert in a British Journal in the late 1850's which I yet to get hold of.
    The sizes which dominate are A (1/2 plate?), B (full plate plate? and C (10x8"). I have a seen a source which mentions A to E sizes, but have only seen a single D size. Additional "Digits" are only sometimes present. I have seen : 0, X, 2 and 3.

    The size marking didn't start until after serial number 546, but was in operation by at least 756.

    The Grubb models seen were:

    - Ordinary Petzvals.

    - Patent Petzvals. These had a bayonnet type flange mounting, which allowed some turn of the barrel. It is uncertain as to whether the patent referrs to the mounting, or whether the Petzval employs the patent "aplanatic" lens as a front achromat!

    - A heavy duty Landscape Patent Aplanatic lens, where a very visible screw-in system with a single aperture opening cause change in the F values. This apparently has a scale system marked - but doesn't correpond to any known f scale.

    - A neat pill-box style Aplanatic landscape meniscus. The system is an obvious development of the above model, but with only two positions. There is the usual system of various sized washer stops for the pill box. This, by far, the commonest model found. It is regularly offered incomplete, where the front section has been removed. It is easily recognised as there are pairs of screws in the side of the barrel.

    Serial Numbers.

    509 patent helicoid aplanatic^
    546 patent helicoid aplanatic
    756! patent helicoid aplanatic^
    756 C Error?
    870 landscape
    879 landscape^
    986 A2 petzval - the "A2" has a different style engraving.^
    993 A2 petzval
    1066 A3
    1539 C landscape 43cm
    1686 A
    2071 A3 Petzval 140mm^
    2241 A
    2719 C
    2795 C
    2890 B
    3147 Ao
    3510 D
    3631 Ax
    5046 Watson engraved double celled aplanatic^

    I will update this list when I can add more flesh to the bones!
    Last edited by Steven Tribe; 26-Oct-2017 at 11:35. Reason: 509 added

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Oct 2017

    Re: Need Grubb Lens Expertise

    I am based in Dublin and have written this article about Grubb family and their later lens making relationship with the Parsons family.

    I am also the proud owner of the following Grubb lenses

    509 mentioned and pictured in the article but not on Steven's list
    3631 which is on Steven's list

    In addition I know that 879 is now in the hands of a Grubb relative.

    Grubb addressed the Royal Dublin Society about his lens design on March 26th 1858. I have a copy of what is said to be his address but they look more a printed version of speaking notes

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I am a member of the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) and tomorrow a group from the RDS will go to view the Grubb Telescope at Dunsink Observatory near Dublin.

    To finish off my introduction, I am a collector of mainly small format cameras such as Leicas and a keen amateur photographer, but my growing interest in Grubb, because of the Dublin connection, is stimulating my interest in larger formats.


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