View Full Version : Lens writing minutia!

Steven Tribe
11-Jan-2015, 06:34
One of the least sensible purchases recently was a ordinary and slotless Petzval that just could have been pre 1860. Engraved JFS, which just could have been James F. Shew who was a general photographic retailer at this time - before he got into smart folding cameras.

Appears to be a later projection Petzval with limiting baffle and rather too well made to be early.

But the lens engraving is fun.

Both the thick edged lenses have similar engravings, but the texts were done in both a mixture of indian ink and pencil.

The text is JFS (large pencil Capitals) Paris (indian ink - ordinary hand writing) 6477 (indian ink).
This serial number is also engraved on the brass sleeve.

So we could perhaps deduce that this is a lens made in Paris and given a serial number there, and the retailer (in this case JFS) added just his name on the lens and the serial number he found on the lenses. The same sort of mixed marking of lenses might exist with the other UK dealers (like Staley) who got their lenses from France. I think I can see a smudged text underneath the "JFS" but dare not guess what used to be there.