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Steven Tribe
8-Feb-2017, 03:48
Suter's products have always been of special interest to me, especialy the large fast Euroskop type.
There is, apparently, a dearth of catalogues and uncertainty about serial numbers and date of production.

I am pretty sure that the data in Lens Vade Mecum is reasonably correct. That is, that Suter were a late starting firm - just before 1890. This is in some contradiction with the date given to Suter Petzvals in auctions and the Dan's article on Petzvals which talks about the 1850's!

Obviously, there are a lot of Suters around and in use, so this won't be an attempt to list all. But there are a few model change markers which might help:

1. The engravings on Petzvals changed at some stage (twice?).
2. The anastigmatic series (I and III) were introduced.
3. The rapid aplanat became series B and the series A (F.6) began.
4. The F.5 rapid aplanat introduced (US F scale and modern F scale).
5. When the licensed Zeiss protars were made.
5. Plasmats introduced.
6. Landscape meniscus production.
7. Stella(r) production.

I thought I could start with making some lists of products with serial numbers based on earlier posts here as well as my own collection. Which could then be added to?

This would be an ideal place for any Suter catalogues to be posted - if anyone has one!

Steven Tribe
8-Feb-2017, 06:15
An example:

serial number 577 is a 42cm ordinary F.8 Aplanat - no series marking at this date.

Steven Tribe
9-Feb-2017, 06:28
I have now approximately 40 suter serial numbers with series identification. I'll try and make a table in the next few days.
Two lenses, 2,482 and 4,673, have a sole agent engraving, Allen Bros., which Dan mentioned at some time and which also appears in the lens VM (late 1880's early 1890's).

There are quite a lot of surviving Suter cameras with original suter lenses. One from 1905 has serial no. 35,927. The date of the anastigmatic Suter Swiss patent is 1900 and the earliest anastigmatic serial number I can find is 22,309.

So some progress, I think.

Jim Fitzgerald
9-Feb-2017, 08:24
Steven, if it helps I have a series B #6 that has a serial number 3052. Love the lens and need to use it more.

Steven Tribe
9-Feb-2017, 09:46
Jim, this is quite an early B aplanat. The earliest I have at the moment is a 2482 (Allen Bros. Sole agent). Of course, the unmarked, earlier aplanat, are also F.8 versions, like the B series.

It is obvious that Suter made only a few Zeiss lenses under licence compared with their own 8 lens anastigmat.

Jim Fitzgerald
9-Feb-2017, 12:38
It is in nice condition as well. Glass is clean. Like I said I need to use it more. I'm thinking late 1800's or early 1900's?

Steven Tribe
9-Feb-2017, 13:01
Well before 1900 - around 1890.

Now up over 60 lenses. Including a Landscape lens and the double plasmat.

I get the impression that the F5 Stella is a rebadged F5 Rapid Aplanat from looking at their serial numbers!

desertrat
9-Feb-2017, 15:24
I don't know if this is the place for members to post data on their random Suter lenses, but here is the information on mine:

E. Suter Basle
No 4079
Aplanat B No 5
13 x 11

Rough measure of focal length around 15" to 16" (380mm to 406mm)

Lots of patina on barrel, a large ding in the hood partially and crudely straightened, glass excellent with just a few small spots of separation around the periphery of the rear group.

No flange or waterhouse stops. Made a temporary stop from black construction paper around f16 to f22 to look at the image on the GG. Made a temporary lens board from 1/8" Masonite and screwed the lens directly into the board. Image looked good. Plan to make stops, mount the lens on a board, and install a Packard shutter that I have behind the lens board.

I posted on this lens once before. Saw it on Ebay and thought it was a fake because the city of origin appeared to be misspelled. Dan Fromm quickly schooled me on the spelling issue. Decided to take a chance on it and won the auction.

Steven Tribe
10-Feb-2017, 08:29
I have looked for the various series and serial numbers here, ebay (Old and new), older auctions as well as a few from Lens VM.

There is no sign of Suter lenses before around 1888.

There was an agent in London called J.R. Gotz (Same name as Goetz!) who was active from 1888 (BTP and RPS sources). He doesn't appeared to have engraved his import Suters. Allen Bros. in the US did engrave on at least some of his lenses. There are serial numbers covering perhaps 2 years (2482 and 4673). I don't have a firm date for Allen's agency period, but have seen one place it was 1890-2.
A first attempt for some benchmarks is as follows:

1888 - no. 577 early F8 aplanat pre-B series.

1890 - no. 2482. Allen Bros. import

1892?- no.4469. Allen Bros. import B aplanat no. 4^

1892 - no. 4673. Allen Bros. import

1900 - no. 22309 recorded date of Swiss Patent for their anastigmat

1905 - no. 35927 lens mounted on catalogue dated Suter folding camera


1920 - no. 45355 Double Plasmat patent Rudolf 1918


It would be nice to have a middle 90's benchmark.

Next post will be first and last (At the moment!) serial numbers for the various series.

Steven Tribe
10-Feb-2017, 12:58
These are the first and last serial numbers I have at the moment for the usual models.

I have now (July 2017) included the few Petzvals I have data on. These appear to be a smaller part of Suter's production during the whole period. The first series used expressions like Cabinet as well as size numbers. The early ones seem to be F3.2 and the later are marked usually. Amongst the later, there is a size 5 bis, which is about F.4.5.

Portrait Petzvals

Note that increasing size doesn't always mean increasing focal length and that speed differs quite a lot!

First 904 No size markings.
1469. Cabinet no. 4 ^
14840 Rapid Portrait lens no. 4 (WHS)
15216 Rapid Portrait lens no.4 (Early iris/split barrel)
23840 no. 5 bis. F.4.5
24150. no. 5
last 34474. no. 2 (ebay listing)

Aplanat F.8

278
577
3683 no engraving other than suter basel serial number

Aplanat B F.8

2126 no. 5 "13x11" - for the UK market
2482
4468#
last 13558

Aplanat A. F.6

first 7321
last 39501

Aplanat C , F 12

first 1753 no.3
last 3781

Must have been produced in low numbers only as this was still in the 1902 catalogue.

Landscape Meniscusearly models with WHS /Later versions with iris F.12

first 1110 no.4
1119 no.4 ebay missing rotary stop.
9079 no.3
9081 no.3
15454 no.3. Iris model - F.12 ebay source
last 30367



Rapid Aplanat F.5

first 10863
13485
last 35072


Stella F.5 Smaller ones black finish/larger ones brass finish

first 39090
46801 360mm brass finish
last 47531

Anastigmat various series (Reported as "new" in German Photographic Yearbook 1901)

first 22309
last 46585

Double Plasmat

first 4522x
last. 4559x

Serial numbers earlier or later than these would be welcome!



From August 2017, I will start adding a few serial numbers which are close to the known first and last serial numbers, as well as those that illustrate production throughout.

Jim Fitzgerald
10-Feb-2017, 19:28
Awesome Steven, Thanks.

lungovw
14-Jun-2017, 03:05
Hello,

I just bought in Bivres:
E. Suter Basel
N 32542
Rapid Aplanat N 3
F.5

it uses the modern F scale.
I did not measured yet the focal length. But it might be around 40/42 cm

Steven Tribe
15-Jun-2017, 04:40
I still check for serial numbers that extend the range for each model and will update when necesary. Nothing to report yet!

Focal lengths for the aplanat series are in another Suter thread.

torashi
20-Sep-2017, 01:24
Hi, I need some info on an a lens:

E. SUTER Basel

ANASTIGMAT Serie I F 7.2 N 5

One of the earlier anastigmats, according to this threads info. S/N. 288**.
It has a 15 blade diaphragm that goes past f/45.
It has no rear element and a dent on the front element, that looks like it was from a burst bubble. Maybe from the time the lens was ground. Am I wrong in assuming the rear element is missing? What kind of design was it? Does anyone have a rear element for it from a lens with a damaged front element?

Thank you very much. Cheers!

Steven Tribe
20-Sep-2017, 02:06
The lens is 100% symmetrical, so you can manage with an extra front or rear lens cell!

Each lens is made up of 4 cemented lenses. There has been some discussion here about which lens design it is a "copy" of.
Perhaps the protar series viia, with an extra lens to avoid patent scandal with Zeiss!

The single lens, mounted at the back, will probably be quite good, if a bit long!

I happen to own the same lens - but one size up. This is no.6 at 400mm. Mine is something of an enigma. The front cell appears to be "kosher" but the whole rear section appears to taken from another Suter (aplanat-type) model. When I remove the rear lens, I can see the original thread for the anstigmatic (Original) rear cell deep down in the aplanat housing!
All modifications have been done very professionally. So your problem is not a new one!

This lens was mostly made in smaller sizes and is found mostly on Suter's own cameras and is quite uncommon in these larger sizes.

CCHarrison
20-Sep-2017, 04:43
Steve - my old Petzval article incorrectly listed Suter in the 1850s - the current Petzval article corrected that. http://antiquecameras.net/petzvallens.html



Suter started in 1878 according to this site http://historiccamera.com/cgi-bin/librarium2/pm.cgi?action=app_display&app=datasheet&app_id=2424& but perhaps lenses came later...

CCHarrison
20-Sep-2017, 04:54
Suter ad- 1878 it is...


170064

Steven Tribe
20-Sep-2017, 06:41
I would take 1878 with a very large pinch of salt!!
I think the achievements at exhibitions before 1888 are not for photographic optics and the date of the advertisment must be post 1893.

Lots of lens making firms started off doing something to do with optical glass (For instance, Grubb with telescopes) before they got into photographic optics. There must have been a desire to give the impression of experience , with company stability and money in the bank.

We have a company in Denmark making jams and marmelade called the "OLd Factory". It started from nothing in the 1970's. They say they were founded in 1880, I believe. The reality is that the first building they used was a converted co-operative Dairy, which had this date in stone above the main entrance!

torashi
20-Sep-2017, 21:41
The lens is 100% symmetrical, so you can manage with an extra front or rear lens cell!

Each lens is made up of 4 cemented lenses. There has been some discussion here about which lens design it is a "copy" of.
Perhaps the protar series viia, with an extra lens to avoid patent scandal with Zeiss!

The single lens, mounted at the back, will probably be quite good, if a bit long!

I happen to own the same lens - but one size up. This is no.6 at 400mm. Mine is something of an enigma. The front cell appears to be "kosher" but the whole rear section appears to taken from another Suter (aplanat-type) model. When I remove the rear lens, I can see the original thread for the anstigmatic (Original) rear cell deep down in the aplanat housing!
All modifications have been done very professionally. So your problem is not a new one!

This lens was mostly made in smaller sizes and is found mostly on Suter's own cameras and is quite uncommon in these larger sizes.

Hi, Steven. Thanks for the response. Yes, I've read a bit around here on some threads on Suter lenses, and many state the 4+4 configuration. In fact, I stumbled upon a pdf copy of the "Yearbook for Photography and reproduction technology for the year 1901" (german: "Jahrbuch fr Photographie und Reproduktionstechnik fr das Jahr 1901") where they describe "Suter's new double anastigmat, comprised of two symmetrical halves of four lenses each". That just about clears it up on the design and that half of it is in fact missing. From the drawing, I can say the front element and the mounting flange are no more *poof*.
So, I know what you mean with the lens at the back. I happen to own a convertible Symmar 5.6/135mm lens, where you remove the front group to get an 1:12/235. Almost double the focal lengt, so this could be around f14.4/660mm with only one lens group. Upon further reading the small article dedicated to this line of lenses on pages 72-73 states that "Each of the lens halves (groups) delivers even at full aperture a sharp and even image at double the focal lenght of the double objective".
I'm attaching the article, including the drawing and the table describing the whole lens lineup. It even has prices on it! <3 :o. Steven, I hope this brings you some more relevant information on the lens you own, and to others in the future.
If anyone is interested in the whole translation, please let me know (I'll just write it in a whole new post). I'm also interested in putting up a wanted thread for the front (or just another rear element) and maybe the mounting flange for this lens. Can anyone point it out for me, please?
Cheers!

Steven Tribe
21-Sep-2017, 03:06
Very useful. It also confirms that the start date for this lens was around 1900. The coverage figure confirms what I expected and being close to Protar VIIa figures.

I think you will be able to find a flange as it is mm and the same selection of semi standard diameters was used by many German/French makers and this is the period of machine cut threads. I am more doubtful about getting a replacement front/rear cell, as sales figures were low!

For your amusement, I enclose some photos of my no. 6 400mm. You can see the Aplanat style rear housing and the original anstigmat thread for the rear cell deep down. I will check my (numerous!) Suter aplanats to see if I can find out which lens it came from.

CCHarrison
22-Sep-2017, 04:46
Steven - attached is an 1883 article about Suter lenses...BJP


170142

torashi
22-Sep-2017, 22:55
Here's the link to the pdf file of the 1901 Yearbook: https://ia601401.us.archive.org/29/items/bub_gb_8JJuAAAAMAAJ/bub_gb_8JJuAAAAMAAJ.pdf



For your amusement, I enclose some photos of my no. 6 400mm. You can see the Aplanat style rear housing and the original anstigmat thread for the rear cell deep down. I will check my (numerous!) Suter aplanats to see if I can find out which lens it came from.

Yes, it's very interesting to see. By looking at it, there must have been a piece of barrel added to the original, since by looking at my lens, it only has the same thread as on the front, and is not that deep. My lens group fits just fine on the front as on the back.

I measured my flange mounting thread, and it's almost 64mm and seems to be a 1.0mm thread, althoug I couldn't know the tolerances specified in that particular period. Maybe I can get a shop to build one for me, or look out for a flange with those characteristics, but of course not every seller documents everything to the full specs.

Steven Tribe
23-Sep-2017, 12:48
Dan - I am amazed! The only explanation I can come up with is that Suter must have gone into some kind of Hibernation for about 5 years - or manufacture on a very small scale for that period. Also surprising is the mention of the A Aplanat this early, when the only engraved A aplanats have higher serial numbers? I'll get round to adding this data in a sensible way in the table I have already started.

torashi
27-Sep-2017, 11:30
Here's a nice example on an 8.5 x 11.5 cm Suter camera.

https://www.kamerasammlung.ch/kamera.php?page=4&camera=729#.Wcvk9VvWy73

E. Suter N. 34750 Anastigmat f/6.8 135mm Serie I N. 1 + Pat. 21872

Amedeus
22-Oct-2017, 11:54
I have an E. SUTER OPT Basel Petzval lens with WHS, Serial No 904, lens diameter ~ 52mm.

Unfortunately only the negative element remains in the rear and as a result, the lens no longer images. No markings on the edges of any of the lenses.

Just an FYI so the serial number is captured.

Rudi A.

poliweb
25-Nov-2017, 09:22
I'm not sure if you're interested in a serial number that falls in the middle of your range. But here goes:

Aplanat B No 4 10x8- serial number is 4468. "Allen Bros. sole agents."

Richard

Steven Tribe
25-Nov-2017, 09:51
Very interested, as Allen brothers' imports are already in the list.
I purchased an old Suter catalogue yesterday and update when I get it - if there is relevant info!

Steven Tribe
1-Dec-2017, 04:49
The catalogue has arrived. It is from 1902, which means it has the "new anastigmatics" included as well as the more traditional lenses from the 1890's.

One surprise is that it includes an aplanat C, which is a 90 degree wide angled lens.

I'll post the data pages on lenses during the next 24 hours. There is plenty on Suter cameras etc. but data only by request!

Suter has a list of his achievements at Exhibitions and he lists them on the first page of the catalogue.
He, too, has the early date of 1883, but most are much later.

Steven Tribe
1-Dec-2017, 08:07
This is the description and size designations for the late Petzval series from Suter april 1901.

Interesting that they state that irises have not replaced Waterhouse stops as they wish to maintain high speed!

The sizes are a mixture of increasing focal lengths (Not a surprise!), but in two cases represent a faster version of the previous focal length.

Amedeus
1-Dec-2017, 11:53
Interesting to see the lens in the catalog to bear the serial number 25,000 ... that's a lot of lenses in a relatively short time ...

The lens I have is according to this list a #1 ... good to know !

Cheers,

Rudi A.


This is the description and size designations for the late Petzval series from Suter april 1901.

Interesting that they state that irises have not replaced Waterhouse stops as they wish to maintain high speed!

The sizes are a mixture of increasing focal lengths (Not a surprise!), but in two cases represent a faster version of the previous focal length.

Steven Tribe
1-Dec-2017, 15:13
This is the later version of the landscape meniscus with a lever iris which is built into the barrel, whilst the first version had Rotary stops in a housing which could be removed.

The catalogue is in good condition and I ask if cameraeccentric are interested in using it.

Steven Tribe
2-Dec-2017, 09:08
These are the 3 early Suter aplanat series which were made mostly in the 1890's but were still in the 1902 catalogue.

Steven Tribe
2-Dec-2017, 09:14
This is the late F5 Extra Rapid aplanat, which became the "Stella" aplanat.

Amedeus
2-Dec-2017, 14:20
For the record, I have an engraved Suter Aplanat A, No 3 with WHS (no iris like in the catalog) and imported by Allen Bros, sole agents.

Serial is No 3575

Lens diameter is 52mm as per catalog page.

Cheers,

pgk
14-Sep-2018, 05:01
I have just taken delivery of a Suter lens (s/n 1753) which is an Aplanat C No 3. As yet I haven't had chance to play with it but its focal length appears to be in the region of 8" to 10" or so from a very rough check. It has wheel stops and is surprisingly clean. Any info appreciated re age, coverage.

torashi
14-Sep-2018, 06:32
I have just taken delivery of a Suter lens (s/n 1753) which is an Aplanat C No 3. As yet I haven't had chance to play with it but its focal length appears to be in the region of 8" to 10" or so from a very rough check. It has wheel stops and is surprisingly clean. Any info appreciated re age, coverage.

The info is right there. Three posts up.
42 mm diaphragm diameter; 22 cm focal lenght (8.66"); Covers 18x24 (7x9.45") cm wide open and 24x30 cm (9.45x11.8") closed all the way down.

It states: "Aplanats, series C, wide angle lenses for reproductions, interiors, monuments and landscapes. Aperture 1/12 th of the focal length. 90 FOV. The rear lens can be used by itself for landscapes; the focal length is double that of the combined object-glass."

Gesendet von meinem Mi A1 mit Tapatalk

pgk
14-Sep-2018, 10:48
The info is right there. Three posts up.
42 mm diaphragm diameter; 22 cm focal lenght (8.66"); Covers 18x24 (7x9.45") cm wide open and 24x30 cm (9.45x11.8") closed all the way down.

Whilst this makes sense to a degree, I'm puzzled by the 42mm diameter as the physical dimensions of the lens do not have 42mm glass diameter, diaphragm (stop) diameter or anything else of this diameter. My lens has rotating stops though, not a diaphragm. What exactly does this 42mm refer to I wonder and would earlier lenses have had the same designation or been physically slightly different?

Steven Tribe
15-Sep-2018, 01:12
I think it is possible that there are variations in the Aplanat C design. Especially as this new one and the only other one I have recorded are very early ones and the catalogue is from 1902. A lot of new glass types came out of Jena in this Period!
Will add the new lenses today.

pgk
15-Sep-2018, 03:35
Thanks Steven.New glass must have shifted designs substantially. I often think that we do not give sufficient credit for the rapid progress made in the days when we consider communications to have been poor (perhaps quite wrongly). I'll post a photo of the lens when I get chance to do so. I'm guessing late 1880s early 1890s for this Aplanat C. Haven't figured coverage yet but will mount it up and see idc.

Vaughn
15-Sep-2018, 07:51
Steven, if it helps I have a series B #6 that has a serial number 3052. Love the lens and need to use it more.
I have the same lens (B #6, 13x16), #3531

A quick portrait of one of my boys (11x14 contact silver gelatin print) with the lens. Too much light for wide open -- I think I used the f11 or f16 waterstop.

Steven Tribe
15-Sep-2018, 09:01
The Suter aplanat which was the F5 version was a very popular alternative Portrait lens in Scandinavian Studios in the post 1890 period. I don't know why it is more common than the Voigtlander Euryscopes - perhaps pricing? I have acquired at least 3 studio camera sets with the same F5 aplanats. By the time the Stella appeared, there was no longer any real growth in the number of established family portrait studios.

pgk
13-Jan-2019, 06:21
If you are still collecting details, a while ago I bought Suter Aplanat B No.5 s/n 2126 (inscribed '13 x 11' which I assume to be coverage in inches?). It has its flange and although they are missing was likely designed for Waterhouse Stops as there is no aperture engravings. [I have a 12" x 8" camera arriving shortly which it should go on quite well, and a Packard which should fit too - will be fun].

Steven Tribe
14-Jan-2019, 03:56
Yes - it has been added now!
It is the earliest B aplanat we have - and the 13x11" means it was made for the UK market. Looking at the catalogue extract for the no.5 - this is the maximum coverage with smaller apertures!

bpersons
16-Sep-2019, 13:56
Not sure this adds to the picture, but my Suter is marked Rapide No 2, No 10,863. I has a lever iris, aperture markings are 2,3,4,8,16,32,100. Which brings up a question - that series doesn't match any pattern i can find, closest is a sequence i found in a table labeled Voightlander Collinier. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Steven Tribe
16-Sep-2019, 23:52
This is the same series as the Rapid shown in the summary of the 1900's catalogue.
As a small maker, Suter had to engrave F scales to satisfy the demands of very different markets.
Your scale corresponds to F5, 5.6, 8, 11.3, 16, 23, 32 and 45.
The optics are the same as the later Stella series.
I have put your Rapid as the first recorded one in the list on page 1!

bpersons
17-Sep-2019, 18:09
This is the same series as the Rapid shown in the summary of the 1900's catalogue.
As a small maker, Suter had to engrave F scales to satisfy the demands of very different markets.
Your scale corresponds to F5, 5.6, 8, 11.3, 16, 23, 32 and 45.
The optics are the same as the later Stella series.
I have put your Rapid as the first recorded one in the list on page 1!

Ah, fantastic and thanks for decoding those markings. I guessed 16 was 16, but i was off quite a few other guesses.