View Full Version : A tiny supplement to Lens Vade Mecum! Shepherd & Squire.

Steven Tribe
21-Jun-2018, 02:38
It is always fun to have a lens that is mentioned in Lens Vade Mecum. Especialy when they ask a question that is now possible to answer!

They don't mention Shepherd as an early UK lens maker in London but there is plenty in earlyphotography.co.uk. His lenses appear quite regularly in UK auctions. Squire was more into general photographic goods, rather than a dedicated lens maker. In fact, it is not known whether he actually made any lenses himself.

Lens VM says:

"Squire, London.

This was noted on a substantial 3" (dia?) Portrait lens at no. 5574X on sale S.H. in London 1999.
It probably was the vendor's name in the 1880's or somesuch time. But Channing and Dunn list Squire as an early lens maker and camera maker from about 1855.

It is possible that a sight of the above lens would show it to be a good deal older than the note suggests."

I can indeed provide some images of this lens! The full serial number is 55740.
I can also understand Lens VM problems as there were no lens makers worldwide that had got anyway near a production figure of 55,000 before the late 19th century. Another problem is that it is marked with the size number 3c - which doesn't match any other maker. It is indeed a 3" Petzval and as well made as a Ross or Dallmeyer with their engraving layout style on the sleeve. The front achromat is mounted through an external thread end cap, which is more common in France at this time.

We can be sure about the date as many photographic firms had short lives. Shepherd, who had provided many lenses to Squire, didn't exist after 1862. Squire took over Shepherd's establishment (see photo) but sought bankruptcy in 1867.

The brass construction is rather more refined than the "Shepherd" type and there is no mention of the old link between the companies so the maker of the "3c" remains unknown. Sorry about the poor image of the Squire, the lacquer is intact but very dark.

Later: taking a second and third look at the "serial number", I thought at first that the "7" was a slash. However, the front achromat is very clearly marked in pencil with this same number and the rear lens has similar pencil marks with numbers. Thre are letters as well but unreadable,