View Full Version : Titillation: Knowing the actual production figures of our (early) lenses

Steven Tribe
30-Sep-2014, 13:32
Apart from the few makers who stuck to a very few models and used logical sequential serial numbers ( P&S probably being a good example), there are not much real data as to whether our early lenses were made in scores, hundreds or thousands of examples.

The Dallmeyer archive could provide almost complete production quantities for all models and sizes up to around 1900, but will require quite a project and not all the requested website pages are currently available.

The only existing complete and correct list of actual made lenses are the Zeiss Anastigmats made under Licence by Voigtländer from 1891 to 1900. These are the later Protars (Series II, IIa, III, IIa, IV, V and VII). The fact that the numbers made are recorded must relate to the payment system laid down in the Zeiss/Voigtländer agreement.

I have previously owned one of these Voigtländer Protars and now I have one more on its way in the post - the series IIa size 6, which is 295mm affair. Records show that just 10 of these were made in the middle of the 1890's.
Interesting, but as we all know, rare, by itself, means nothing.

30-Sep-2014, 14:13
It sure is a beautifully crafted piece.


30-Sep-2014, 17:08
I have two Bausch & Lomb Zeiss Anastigmat Series II (f/6.3) lenses. One is labeled "8x10" and the other is labeled "3 1/4 x 4 1/4" (with focal lengths of 14" and 5" respectively). These do not appear to be common lenses and it would be nice to know how many of them were made on this side of the Atlantic. I knew B&L made these under license in the U.S. and Ross made them under license in the U.K., but I did not realize Voigtlander made them as well. I believe the Anastigmats were optically redesigned and improved when they were rebranded as the Protar, so these early Zeiss Anastigmats were only manufactured for a few years in the early 1890s.


30-Sep-2014, 17:09
Nice lens Steven and interesting topic. Fad knows no logic. So people will fight for common lenses (or other collectibles) made in the millions. If 1,000 people want a Dagor, the supply and demand still keeps the price up. If 2 people want a RD Gray Periscop, even though they're rare, they find them enough that the prices are cheap. That being said, any Protar is a fine lens (and as good or better as a Dagor), so good find!

Steven Tribe
1-Oct-2014, 00:55
Zeiss was a pretty tiny company in the early 1890's and they appear to have actively sought out alternative production facilities. Apart from the best known B&L and Ross arrangements, there was Koristka in Italy and Krauss of Paris.

Voigtländer made the Series II as well - the number 8 was the 360mm (14") version that Jonathan has. From H.Theile's examination of the Voigtländer production data, it seems that the Series III was more popular than the II and (especialy) IIa. There could be some distortion if the pricing policies of the various makers differed.

Tim Deming
1-Oct-2014, 12:28
Nice find Steven!

I noticed that another Series IIa No. 6 was sold by Westlicht a few years ago: ser# 45711. That one was missing the hood, but also had the iris with what I presume are US stops like yours. If only 10 were made, they must have been in at least 2 batches according to the gap in serial numbers.