View Full Version : help!

10-May-2004, 19:25
My grandfather recently gave me a lense(? not even sure about this, I've never seen anything like it before) with this information on it:

Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation

#44-278 (no weight)

Six inch E.F.L.

Shutter K-17

U.S. PAT 2,031,792

Bauch and Lomb Optical Co.

My g'pa thought it was used during WWII, but wasn't sure. I was hoping I could find more information about it in general. What sort of thing it was used for? (ariel I'm assuming, based on a few other posts) Could I still possibly get a body for it? Film? or could I improvise those?

I'm not looking to sell it, but usually I pick up an old camera, I do it with the hope that it still works... not with the intention for it to sit pretty on my shelf collecting dust.


Thanks, Elizabeth.

John Kasaian
10-May-2004, 19:44

I believe its an aerial lens. Probably a B&L metrogon(sp?) It may or may not be contained in its "cone" which would be the part that attaches to the aerial camera(and marked or placarded with "Fairchild" data) I have heard of these being used on field cameras, though I suspect mounting one in a conventional shutter would be difficult if not impossible. It would probably make for a pretty nice wide angle on an 8x10 if you want to give it a try. How much you'd get in the way of movements might be an issue as they were designed to cover 9-1/2" x 9-1/2" film. There were 9-1/2"x 19" format aerial cameras but I've never heard of a 6" Metrogon being used on one(I could be wrong of course!) Good Luck!

Mike Phifer
10-May-2004, 19:52
Elizabeth, This might be a long shot. I have an old reference writen by Kingslake (During WW II) that lists a 6 in Bausch and Lomb Aero Lense with a coverage of 65 degrees. The construction was a Plasmat with an f # of 6. i hope this helps... Mike

Ernest Purdum
10-May-2004, 20:21
"K-17" refers to the camera, which used 9" X 9" rollfilm. Your grandfather is right in thinking it was used in WWII (and for some time afterward). Besides your 6", 12" and 24" lens cones were available, all the lenses,I think, made by Bausch & Lomb. Your 6" is indeed a Metrogon, a lens also used on several other aerial cameras. Unfortunately, the Fairchild shutter is very bulky and requires adaptation to work on a normal camera. Mounting the lens in a normal shutter would, if not impossible, be extremely difficult and not cost effective.

Mike Phifer
11-May-2004, 13:35
Elizibeth, I checked another reference of mine, (A History of the Photographic Lens, Rudolf Kingslake, 1989) and it also confirms that the lens is a Metrogon. The patent # 2,031,792 was issued to Robert Richter of the Zeiss Corp in 1933. It is an extreem example of the double-Gauss type lens that covers 90 Degrees (but with significant light fall off.) This light fall off at the corners (9x9inch coverage) required a graded density filter to hold back the center.As far as sharpness is concerned these are tack sharp, however not as contrasty due to their eight glass air surfaces (if un-coated).

I have Meyer Aristostigmat which is also a double-Gauss design,which has made many nice photos for me.