View Full Version : Ed. Liesegang 'Aristograph' Petzval - Looking For Info

20-Feb-2013, 17:33
Today I picked up a curious little Petzval. I have yet to shoot with it, but the image on the ground glass is lovely: tack sharp in the center with subtle swirly fall-off at the edges. The full circle of illumination is just over eight inches, so it will be fine up to 5x7, or usable on 8x10 with dark corners.

From the little I know of Liesegang, the company's forte was projectors and projection lenses, not camera optics, and this looks like a projection Petzval to which an iris has been added. The aperture scale is missing, but it appears to stop down to f/64.

I did the requisite Google search for the terms "Liesegang" and "Aristograph" but this returned a surprising zero results (other than hits for the original auction). I'm posting some photos here in case anyone now (or in the future) can offer any info on the lens.

Ed. Liesegang Dusseldorf Aristograph 1:4 F=18 cm No. 28058




Steven Tribe
21-Feb-2013, 03:17
Liesegang did sell camera lenses in their early days. Some of these were definitely relabelled other products, but a few (Petzvals) have very interesting, unique, features.
"Aristo-" was commonly used by another German maker.

Double focussing wheel usually indicates a projection use (or even perhaps a horizontal enlarger, which could explain the stops slit). Aluminium suggests quite late product (1900).
Aristograph may have been the name of the apparatus.

Emil Schildt
21-Feb-2013, 03:51
Steven is right (of course..)

I have a beauty of an ancient Petzval lens by Liesegang.
I have seen Liesegang lenses quite often onthe bay (also the petzvals)

Some might fetch high prices..

Like this one:




(I don't know yours..)

21-Feb-2013, 12:23
Thank you, Steven and Emil. That it could be an enlarging lens never occurred to me, but that would explain the iris in an otherwise projection-looking lens. Some previous owner crudely scratched focal distances along the side of the outer barrel, so I assume it was used as a camera lens at some point in the past. The chromed barrel and aluminum front element housing suggests it is more modern than I might have thought. Petzvals as taking lenses were mostly out of fashion by this time, I believe, but some projection lenses, if my early B&L Cinephors are any indication, were still of Petzval construction up until at least WWII.

Regardless of its provenance, I am happy with the lens and plan to shoot some images with it this week. The proof will be in the pudding, of course.


Steven Tribe
21-Feb-2013, 13:07
The E**y item below is another example of a useful projection lens.

Magic lanterns were an expensive purchase, so many families saved on the projection lens and adapted older Petzvals to fit their new acquisition.

The brass casing shows where the condenser lens used to be. But the lens in front had a more distinguished life as 1/4 plate Perken Rayment portrait Petzval!

Bob Salomon
21-Feb-2013, 13:34
"From the little I know of Liesegang, the company's forte was projectors and projection lenses, not camera optics, and this looks like a projection Petzval to which an iris has been added. The aperture scale is missing, but it appears to stop down to f/64. "

We were the Liesegang USA distributor up until about 1985 or 86. There were two different Liesegang companies, one in Dusseldorff (the one we represented) and another in, I believe, Berlin. That one made enlargers and other equipment. The one that we represented from Dusseldorff specialized in overhead and opaque projectors and distributed a 6x7 slide projector that was made by Cabin in Japan and was sold under the Linhof name in the USA. Since there were so many hands in the marketing of this projector, Cabin, Liesegang, Linhof and us we arranged with Linhof and Liesegang that we would import these directly from Japan from Cabin and marketed them under the Linhof name with the Linhof nameplate on them. We stopped doing this when Liesegang began making there own 67 projector and Mamiya contracted with Cabin to become the exclusive US distributor for Cabin projectors.
Liesegang also had some other projectors that were a conflict for us when we became the Rollei distributor in 1986 so that was effectively the end of the distribution of Liesegang Dusseldorff in the USA.
Liesegang was very sucessful in the years that we handled them with a portable folding overhead projector that was a joint project of Liesegang and Elmo Japan. That projector used a very effective Fresnel screen that was made by a German company that had an office and factory in Rochester, NY. That company became Fresnel Optics and was the supplier of the Beattie Screen and the Linhof SuperScreen (that we marketed in the USA).
So Liesegang has had impact in areas that were not obvious to most in the USA.