View Full Version : First Voigtlander Petzval series - help with German, if possible!

Steven Tribe
31-Mar-2018, 05:40
Lady Luck has sent an early Petzval (8292) to my door. This is a one of the first with a Braunschweig made Waterhouse Slot, but still with the difference in viewing and chemical focal lengths.

Claus Prochnow's book lets me identify this as model 4, which is a EFL 8 1/4" F.2.6 - quite a uniquely fast version. He also has a few remarks about adjusting for chemical focussing after visual focussing.
I reproduce the passage.

I have always assumed that the comments refer to movements of the tangential drive, but I could be mistaken! The main problem is the word "Thir." for which I have unable to find in translation or German dictionaries. The numbers given for the "movement" seem excessive, if they refer to the turns of the knob or even gear teeth.

I know I can always do a trial and error experiment and play with filters and test cards, but it would be nice if I could use other's knowledge of German or experience with this very first Petzval design.

31-Mar-2018, 07:55
It looks "Thlr" to me. Google says it is a silver coin used in many Europe countries.

Steven Tribe
31-Mar-2018, 08:15
That would add to the cost of using the lens quite considerably - certainly an alternative use of silver in photography!

But I think you are right about the Thlr, rathr than Thir.

31-Mar-2018, 09:11
The ‘thaler’ was a coin used in different european countries from 1538 to 1847.
It seems weird that such old coin name would be used in a book.

31-Mar-2018, 14:15
Steven, the paragraph you think is about "adjusting for chemical focussing" is actually about the price charged for the modification of old lenses (exchange of glass i would presume). "berechnet" means money charged in this case and the price is per lens in Thalers.
btw - you should do something about this upside down images

Steven Tribe
31-Mar-2018, 15:12
Yes, I realised this was an exchange offer as soon as soon the penny dropped about this being a charge (thalers) for "fixing" the old glass in old Voigtlanders. Looks like the redesign for getting the visual/chemical match was not that extensive - perhaps just one of the lenses in the rear pair. The figures given are about 10% of the price of a complete new lens.

This offer by Voigtlander means that we will never able to know from a serial number whether it has the first or revised Petzval design.

Sorry about the reversal! My thumbnails are inverted too, but show the right way up in the larger image.

Doremus Scudder
1-Apr-2018, 04:03
Hi Steven,

I’m fairly fluent in German, having lived in Austria for almost 30 years and running a translation service on the side :)

Here’s my quick translation of the text starting below the table at the sentence with the asterisk. Hope it helps.

"* My conversion based on the Vienna Standard (or product line):

For the correction of the “focus difference” of older lenses (the amount) charged was:
No. 1 3 Thaler… etc.

For installing a center aperture in old lenses:

Concerning the installation of center apertures (Steckblende ~ Waterhouse stops); these are installed in a manner that allows them to be changed instantly, without unscrewing the front and rear elements (literally, head and front lenses), even during a sitting (portrait sitting is likely meant here) Note: Waterhouse stops were introduced around lens (serial number) 8000, but can also be retrofitted.

Data for earlier price lists deviate from the above-mentioned one from 1861, because the development was not yet complete. …”

If you need more just PM me with the text.



Steven Tribe
1-Apr-2018, 04:21
Many thanks! It is a great improvement on my piecemeal (and misleading!) translation.

So Voigtlander were offering factory Waterhouse slot additions, and the "conversion" of old lenses suggests a reprofiling of existing glass lenses, rather than replacement glass.

1-Apr-2018, 12:26
From an original Voigtlander german catalog of 1863.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/800x600q90/923/BXYYQ9.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/pnBXYYQ9j)

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/800x600q90/923/qXvdeQ.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/pnqXvdeQj)

Steven Tribe
2-Apr-2018, 00:49
This contains further details about the conversion service on page two and serial number transitions.