View Full Version : Bausch and Lomb 12" brass lens

arkady n.
25-Sep-2016, 12:15
I bought this lens from a forum member. Unfortunately, he was not able to tell me much about it. Can anyone help me to find out how old this lens is, and any other interesting information about it?

The lens has this writing on it:
"Bausch & Lomb Optical Co.
New York Rochester, NY Chicago

Thank you

155513 155511 155512

Steven Tribe
25-Sep-2016, 13:10
Made in 1907. Nickel plated means a projection lens. A Petzval which covers 1/4 plate and 4x5", perhaps a bit more.
B&L made quality brasswork and good optics. There is not considered to be real quality differences between photographic and projection Petzvals. It is not really difficult to rework the brass to facilitate the use of Waterhouse stops for aperture control.

If it is 12" focakl length, then the aperture is around F6, unless there is a restricting baffle in the lens (Which could be removed!).

arkady n.
25-Sep-2016, 13:47
Steven, thank you for the information. There is no baffle inside, so there is nothing to remove.
Do you have any photos to show the "rework the brass to facilitate the use of Waterhouse stops"
Btw, how did you know that it was made in 1907?

Steven Tribe
25-Sep-2016, 14:26
google bausch & laub serial numbers.

You just do what that markers did. Cut a square hole in the heavy brass sleeve - exactly opposite to the tangential drive. Cut a slot in the nickel barrel near the opticak centre of the lens. Install a ring instead the barrel to hold the Waterhouse stops in place. by the slot and not allow light leaks.

Check ebay for petzval lenses that have chrome/nickel barrels - almost all of them are altered for photographic use. Wetplate people do not bother to do this as they are after speed.

arkady n.
25-Sep-2016, 17:08
Steven, thank you again

Dan Fromm
25-Sep-2016, 19:01
Steven, just for giggles I googled B&L serial numbers. The search was for "bausch & lomb serial numbers" OR "bausch and lomb serial numbers"

First hit: http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Bausch_%26_Lomb_serial_numbers Totally <censored> wrong. I've had a B&L lens made no later than 1915 with s/n 2064387 and a pre-WWII 6 1/4" f/6.3 Tessar IIb s/n 3250727/ Stuff that in your camera-wiki.org and smoke it.

Nothing relevant after that.

Surely you know that you can't believe everything posted on the wonderful world wide web.

25-Sep-2016, 20:13
You can also make washer stops that simply go inside the lens. That way you don't have to cut it.

Kent in SD

Steven Tribe
25-Sep-2016, 23:58
I used the tables at:


These looked pretty reliable to me. But the table is a bit disjointed, so I read the date to the left, rather to the right.
So the correct date is 1929.

Dan Fromm
26-Sep-2016, 04:51
Steven, to say it again, Klaus Schmitt's table is not consistent with B&L lenses I own and have owned. The table is not reliable and should not be used.

arkady n.
26-Sep-2016, 08:12
Dan, what source did you use to find out information about your lenses?

Dan Fromm
26-Sep-2016, 13:13
Arkady, I use many sources. Here's a link to the list: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=8D71BC33C77D1008!1005&authkey=!ACp3Kf30SHN3MwY&ithint=file%2cdocx

To the best of my knowledge there are no reliable serial number lists for B&L, Ilex and Wollensak lenses. None.

arkady n.
26-Sep-2016, 13:22
Dan, thank you

arkady n.
6-Oct-2016, 19:08
You can also make washer stops that simply go inside the lens. That way you don't have to cut it.
Kent, what do you mean? How would I get the washers inside the lens without cutting it?

Steven Tribe
6-Oct-2016, 23:50
Washer stops were used in two ways.

The first way was in front of the front lens. There was a kind of pill box, built into a brass cap. The separate washers were held in place by a well fitting ring or split ring. These were quite common in the early years, but many, these days, have lost this attachment.The second way, used just before the Waterhouse revolution, was to split the barrel (Screw thread or a bayonnet system) and place the loose washers in a central support. Again, it is rare to find lenses that still have this system. THis idea was extended for some makers (French) who supplied modifying lenses that could be place in this position.

I think he means the first as this is quite easy to do - cardboard will suffice - whilst the second is a a job for Grimes!

arkady n.
7-Oct-2016, 06:45
Steven, thank you for the explanation.