View Full Version : help needed identifying large lens

2-Nov-2016, 11:28
Greetings to all, I have a large unknown lens I hope some one can help me identify who made it, its age, what it was used for, the stop has an x on it, the only mark I can find on it is a number 58 which is penciled or scratched on the inside surface of the mounting ring, many thanks All the best Tim

Steven Tribe
2-Nov-2016, 12:26
Not enough near shots, Tim.

It is a very large Petzval which originally was without the square sleeve cut-out, the slot in the barrel and, of course without waterhouse stops. There are signs of saw/file marks.

This size was pretty uncommon, either mounted on an early studio camera or a later (1880 onwards) projection lens. Both types turn up often with this Waterhouse modification. Both perform well as photographic lenses, but the bonus of an early lens can mean, however, that it is not corrected to make the optical and chemical focus coincide.

The brass parts are very much the commonest design and the lens hood form is not distinctive. The turn knob does suggest an early product.

IT is surprising that the cut-out square is exactly the place where the makers engraving would have been (maker - address - sometimes, serial number). Most modifiers would take to protect the "origin" of the lens. On the other hand, an owner with an engraving which says " John Brown Magic Lantern makers" , would be pleased to remove it!

But there are no-name lenses which are actually made by well known companys. I have a very large pill box French Landscape with absolutely no external markings. But written on all the broader lens edges in india ink "Lerebours et Secretan".

You may come nearer finding what it is, if you unscrew the front and/or rear lens cell. You should be able to see if there is any writing there and read it using a mirror.

Be careful, it weighs over 3 kilos, I calculate.

Jim Galli
2-Nov-2016, 12:37
Looks to be + or - 15" focus if it is the common f4. A standard studio portraiture petzval for 18X24 cm format of the late 19th century.

2-Nov-2016, 13:00
Hi Steven,
Many thanks for your help again, let me know what near shots would you need. I looked around the opening for the stops to be inserted and it does look roughly done. taking out the lens cells and looking closely there are not signs of any writing. you obviously know this subject inside out and I do appricate you helping me out with this.

2-Nov-2016, 13:02
Hi Jim,
Thank you for taking the time to reply, I am learning as I go here. Cheers.