View Full Version : Fallowfield London Wide Angle 7 1/4x4 1/2 1855 Lens

11-Sep-2016, 14:08
Just won on eBay tonight. Marked "Fallowfield London Wide Angle 7 1/4x4 1/2 1855". My own research shows Jonathan Fallowfield starting business in 1856, so this is an early one! Can anyone tell me anything about this lens? I'm assuming that it was made for him then he enscribed it.

I really do hope no one is forging names and dates onto old lenses!

Steven Tribe
11-Sep-2016, 14:54
yes there are problems here.

Logic tells us that some serial numbers will be close to mid century years.Which I think is the case here!
Looks very much like a WA or portable RR lens and would pre-date Dallmeyer, but not perhaps other, less succesful doublets? Rotary stops surely came later too?

The only externally engraved dated lens I have seen was a UK lens that celebrated one of Queen Victoria's celebrations at the end of the 19th C.

11-Sep-2016, 15:18
There is another Fallowfield online https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/auction-team-breker/catalogue-id-breker10006/lot-6d78e80f-41e5-4d15-95cf-a5b500bd1094 although they are muddled over the year. (probably 1886). I thought it was quite common for suppliers to buy in lenses and to inscribe their details onto them. I've just figured what you mean. Serial number 1855 rather than year. Oh poo.

11-Sep-2016, 16:32
Wheel stops were mostly used starting in the 1860s, then into the 1890s. This lens looks like a 1870s or 80s lens to me. It has none of the early features from 1850s lenses.

Steven Tribe
12-Sep-2016, 00:29
Another revealing thing is the use of the term "wide angle" which was not common practice in the 1850's.

It is the rule, rather than an exception, that the seller's engraving just reads "1856" rather than "No. 1856". This is also the case when the maker (For example, Ross) has his data on one side of the lens and the seller has added his own data with an identification number.

Fallowfield ran a successful shop and, whilst he probably never made anything himself, seems to been pro-active in relation to his suppliers.

13-Sep-2016, 01:34
Thank you all so much for your expert help. I'll just go away now and shoot myself. I got the lens on the strength of the age. I paid 46 with some other bits all in.

My thing is getting these lenses onto a mirrorless camera. My oldest at the moment is a Thornton and Pikard Amber lens. I ran a head to head test at the weekend Amber (1890) vs Beck symmetric (1915) vs Ross (1912) vs Ortagoz (1928) vs Industar 2 (1929). Ranking went with age.

Steven Tribe
14-Sep-2016, 11:04
If it is any help, we have all bought things on ebay which turned out not to quite as described!

My worst was a delightful early Zeiss Protar. Very clean glass, unfortunate cut from window glass!

15-Sep-2016, 00:20
As it runs out it fits well on a digital camera. It has an M39 thread and its wide angle means the crop factor is reduced and it actually takes a reasonable picture. 155052155052

Steven Tribe
16-Sep-2016, 13:44
I have found another Fallowfield which confirms the plain serial number.

16-Sep-2016, 17:14
I've had four 19th C lenses put into Nikon F mount now, by SK Grimes. One is a 50mm doublet with wheel stop, Darlot engraved on the tiny barrel. Research suggests it came from a roll film stereo camera, and is probably from ~1895-ish. I had Grimes put it in a small screw mount for focus. How are you getting focus on your lens? I also think your lens is maybe 1870s-1880s.

Kent in SD

16-Sep-2016, 18:11
Wheel stops were mostly used starting in the 1860s, then into the 1890s. This lens looks like a 1870s or 80s lens to me. It has none of the early features from 1850s lenses.

Wheel stops in the 1860s? For some reason I thought that was mostly an 1880-00 thing. Does anyone know when they were invented?