View Full Version : Is this a Dagor?

Hugo Zhang
11-May-2007, 10:52
I have come across a very old lens from Zeiss. Engraved on both top and bottom of lens barrel in italics is "Zeiss Patent 16 1/2 In" with '3331' on front cell and '3332' on back cell. Engraved on body is "C.P.Goerz Berlin DRP No 79541" and a 'Z & M'.

I have done some reseach and it seems that this lens was made in 1902-1903, before Goerz was absorbed into Zeiss. I am not quite certain that this is a Dagor lens, even my gut feeling tells me it is indeed a Dagor. My doubt comes from the fact that Goerz made the same length Artar lenses at the same time.

The seller couldn't help me either. Anybody can enlighten me on this? Thanks.

David A. Goldfarb
11-May-2007, 11:15
What's the maximum aperture? Dagors of that length tend to be f:7.7, and Artars are usually f:9 in that size if I remember correctly.

Hugo Zhang
11-May-2007, 11:27

There is no other words as far as I know. I have a 16 1/2 Artar already.

Gene McCluney
11-May-2007, 11:38
Those lens cells look "Dagor-esque" don't they? That shutter is odd. It is probably trash, as worn looking as it appears to be.

Ole Tjugen
11-May-2007, 12:51
Could it be a Zeiss Doppelprotar in a Goerz shutter?

Rather - with that age, it would be a Doppelanastigmat, not a Doppelprotar. that could be why they didn't put "Zeiss Anastigmatlinse Serie IV" or something on each of the cells - it's just too long!

Oh no - I just realised the focal length is in inches! That means it's made by either Ross (UK) or B&L (USA). My gut feeling says B&L, since Ross seems to have put very much effort into having their own name on everything. :)

Also, the 16 1/2 In focal length refers to each cell, not the combined lens. Since 16 1/2" is 419mm, that could mean it's a Serie IV, 2x 43cm for a combined 250mm f:6.3 - or a Serie VII, 2x 41cm for a combined 230mm f:6.3 (assuming both cells are the same focal length).

HOWEVER: C. P. Goerz at the same time made the "Pantar" with 42cm cells, combined to 241mm f:6.3... But there was no "Zeiss patent" on that, much to Zeiss' disappointment. ;)

11-May-2007, 12:56
The cells look identical to my dagor, but there's no way of knowing without literal comparison

Jim Galli
11-May-2007, 14:06
Time to get out the penlight in a dim room. shine it in the individual cells and count refelctions. 2 brights and 3 dims is a protar type, 2 brights and 2 dims is a dagor type. Actually Uli will point out that the reflections don't prove it's either, but we'll argue that since it has both zeiss and goerz names on it, it's probably one or the other. Either way it's very likely quite a useable lens on the ULF.

Hugo Zhang
11-May-2007, 14:07

The name "Dagor" was used around 1904. So this lens was made before that. Goerz started to make Artar lenses after 1904, so this one is not likely to be an Artar. According to what I have found from Graflex site, a Dagor lens marked Goerz Berlin will be pre-merger. So it is very likely indeed a Dagor made by Zeiss under the patent of Goerz in Germany before 1904.

It does look like a Dagor. I have a few Dagors of 7", 9 1/2", 10 3/4, 12" and 14" length.


Surely I need one for my upcoming 16x20 Chamonix.

Ole Tjugen
11-May-2007, 14:32
...So it is very likely indeed a Dagor made by Zeiss under the patent of Goerz in Germany before 1904...

That's extremely unlikely. Zeiss would make Protars, not Dagors - the "Serie IV" I mentioned above was almost a straight copy of a Dagor. A 1904 Goerz Dagor would be marked "Goerz Doppel-Anastigmat Serie III D.A.G.O.R." - I happen to have one right here. :D

There's also the little fact of there being an inscription on BOTH cells, and that they have different serial numbers. That leads to a convertible or "Satzobjektiv" - which could be a Protar IV or VII (Zeiss) or a Pantar (Goerz), but never a Dagor. Not even the Zeiss Doppel-Amatar (yet another Dagor copy, but later and better) had this feature.

And then there's the "In." focal length. That was definitely never used in Germany!

BTW, what's the approximate focal length of the combined lens? 230-250mm?

Hugo Zhang
11-May-2007, 14:58
That's extremely unlikely. Zeiss would make Protars, not Dagors

Why not? One of my favorite lenses is a 18cm f/9 Zeiss Dagor. It's not a Protar for sure. I have a 69cm Zeiss Protarlinse VII and a 46cm Zeiss Protar V whose front and back cells have identical numbers.

I should have the lens in my hands soon and I will find out. I really need a 16 1/2" Dagor and I hope I won't be disapppointed.

Ole Tjugen
11-May-2007, 15:06
Hugo - the Protar V was not a convertible, so the lens cells were always matched and carried the same serial number. The (German, 1909 to 1913) Series IV and (always) series VII were convertibles, and every single cell got its own serial number.*

The Zeiss Dagors were made after the merger. Before that, Zeiss and Goerz were competitors with similar and competing products!

*Caveat: Pre-1909 Series IV was an f:12.5 wide-angle lens, and that type stayed in production with B&L for a long time after Zeiss Jena started "reusing" the name for the 3-element convertible f:6.8 to f:7.7 Dagor-type lens. That lens never really caught on, and production seems to have stopped around 1913...

Hugo Zhang
11-May-2007, 15:51

Is it possible that there was a period of cooperation/cross licensing between these two competitors before the final merge? It didn't work out of course and Goerz was bought by Zeiss. And this lense was a product of that brief period.

Paul Fitzgerald
11-May-2007, 18:53

that is an old Goerz 'Sector' shutter from the picture and they did open shop in New York but I don't think they ever produced 'Zeiss patent' lenses. B&L did produce 'Zeiss patent' lenses and were also in New York at that time


"And then there's the "In." focal length. That was definitely never used in Germany!"

oops, Voigtlander & Sohn did on their Heliars way back when. I do have a #6 14 inch F:4.5 Heliar from Braunschweig, #112640 (7 Sept, 1911) and it's New York twin #65338. Yes, I'm nuts, I also have a 36cm version.

Ole Tjugen
12-May-2007, 01:40
"And then there's the "In." focal length. That was definitely never used in Germany!"

oops, Voigtlander & Sohn did on their Heliars way back when. I do have a #6 14 inch F:4.5 Heliar from Braunschweig, #112640 (7 Sept, 1911) and it's New York twin #65338. Yes, I'm nuts, I also have a 36cm version.

Eh yes. Voigtländer made some lenses for export with focal lengths in the "appropriate" units. Zeiss and Goerz seem to have preferred licensed production.

Yes you're nuts. But you're in good company - I have 120, 150, 240 and 360mm Heliars. :)

Uli Mayer
12-May-2007, 02:13
Like Ole, I'd rule out a Zeiss Dagor-type lens; the patent for the Doppel-Amatar was granted in 1908, and this lens looks older.
I'd also rule out that the lens was made after 1900, because in this year Zeiss started to brand its anastigmats "Protar" ( and some if not all licencees followed doing so).
I think we can also exclude that the lens was made by Zeiss itself, since the engraving doesn't say "Jena", and I doubt that Zeiss would have used "inches" especially for lenses that were to be sold on non-continental (European) markets.
If one accepts these assumptions we could delimit the lens' date to between 1900 and 1889/90, the year Zeiss started making photographic objectives, and that it was manufactured by a licencee, most likely by Ross (London) or Bausch & Lomb, the latter being Zeiss' sole licencee in the U.S. after 1892.
I take it for granted that it's an anastigmat. And a very early one because it's not specified to which series it belongs. The original Zeiss Anastigmats "Serie I" and "Serie II" with 5 lenses in 2 groups go back to 1892 and were made in f.l.up to 416mm (590mm); "Serie IIa was introduced in in 1893 ( also a 5-2) max. f.l. 433mm; "Serie III", a 4-2 design > 586mm started in 1890; "Serie IIIa" (5-2) >820mm in 1892; "Serie IV" ( 4-2) > 801mm; "Serie V" (4-2) in 1890; "Serie VI" (5-3) >410mm in 1891; "Serie VII" and "VIIa" (4-1) plus "Anastigmat-Satzlinse" from 1893 on.
A lot of choices!

But in addition there is/was also an "Anastigmatlinse" of 3 lenses in 1 group made by Zeiss in 1892 !! which had F 1:14.5 and was offered in 14 different focal lengths between 183mm and 1083mm. Maybe those two cells belong to this type.

(all data taken from Harmut Thiele "Deutsche Photooptik von A - Z", Munich 2007)

Ole Tjugen
12-May-2007, 02:31
That's great information, Uli!

I believe that last 3-1 "Anastigmatlinse" is the one for which Zeiss Jena "recycled" the Serie IV designation around 1910, with single cells from 15 to 70cm focal lengths. But Hans Schmidt "Photographisches hilfsbuch für ernste Arbeit", Berlin 1910, says
Es gelang der Firma vor kurzem die in den Doppelprotaren Serie VII vorhandene Bildqualität schon mit drei verkitteten Linsen zu erreichen. Dieser Typus kommt in nachstehender Serie IV auf den Markt und ist natürlich billiger.
I take this to mean that the 3-1 Protar was introduced no earlier than 1909, and thus would only have been sold with the "Protar" name.
And at the same time, B&L continued making the old Serie IV f:12.5; at least this is the only "Serie IV" I've seen - no Doppelprotars.

Uli Mayer
12-May-2007, 02:42
For further research I recommend to consult the Zeiss Archive. A starting point may be this:

Uli Mayer
12-May-2007, 02:48
Here is in an illustration and a detailed description of the "Serie VI" Zeiss Anastigmatlinse (1893). Three lenses cemented together.

Ole Tjugen
12-May-2007, 02:59
And here's the f:12.5 Protarsatz Serie IV, 1908: http://www.archive.zeiss.de/hzeig.FAU?sid=50950550138&DM=2&DOKREF=2&REF=1950&AUFT=Protar%2DSatz+A+IV%2C+1908++

It's not supposed to be easy... :)

Uli Mayer
12-May-2007, 07:38
There is no Serie VI 419mm ( = 16 1/2" ) Anastigmat-Satzlinse in the Zeiss list; but this focal lenght is halfway between size 4 ( 385mm) whose largest lens diameter was 31mm, and size 5 (450mm) with a largest lens diameter of 36mm. Thus, if the actual lens has a max.dia of ca. 33 to 34 mm I still wouldn't exclude that it is of this type.
It's all guess-work, I know.

Dan Fromm
12-May-2007, 07:47
Its just amazing that all you smart people can speculate so about a lens none of you, including the OP, has seen. Theory is nice, but in this case I think that, um, direct measurement will trump it.



Gene McCluney
12-May-2007, 08:21
I remember the auction listing on this lens. Wasn't this lens actually located in India currently? Was there any lens production in India? under license?

Jim Galli
12-May-2007, 08:27
Hugo, it took a while for the lights to come on but I've a similar lens out in the shop and sold another last month. It's a protar VII but VERY early. Around 1895-ish. Bausch & Lomb hadn't settled on the later standardized Protar VII sizes and these early lenses will have 14" instead of the later 13 3/4" and 16 1/2 instead of the later 16 1/8". No Protar name then, just Zeiss Anastigmat. You've bought a very nice 9 1/2" Doppel Anastigmat. Those cells are too small for it to have been something like a 16 1/2" Dagor in that shutter. That shutter is about the size of an Ilex 4. The Goerz name is from the shutter, not the lenses. You normally see these in the 2 piston very early all brass Bausch & Lomb shutter.

Hugo Zhang
12-May-2007, 11:01
Thanks, everyone! When I receive the lens, I will test its focal lens and coverage and report back here.

CP Goerz
17-May-2007, 08:04
I'll go with JimG on this one, the shutter is Goerz the glass is Zeiss and will cover 8x10 stopped down.

Vick Vickery
17-May-2007, 13:49
"Is this a Dagor I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come let me clutch the..."

Sorry, I couldn't stand it! ;) :o

(With apologies to W. Shakespear and Macbeth)

Hugo Zhang
9-Jun-2007, 07:20
I have got the lens and put on my 10x20 camera. What appeared on the gg comfirmed my fear: it is not a 16 1/2" Dagor. Jim Galli and CP Goerz are right on this one. I paid dear and a lesson learned.

Hugo Zhang
5-Oct-2010, 13:03

You were right on this one. It never occured to me to test the single cells of this lens three years ago.

I was doing some house cleaning last night and found this lens again and both cells when used alone covered my 16x20 plate. They are Protar VII, very early ones. :)

What a pleasant surprise!

Lynn Jones
6-Oct-2010, 08:30
I don't know of any German made lens by any manufacturer in which the focal length was shown in inches, mostly cm or later mm.

Very early in the 20th century, German Goerz started a US Goerz corp. and those lenses were usually shown in inches and metric. They sometimes were called just Goerz or occasionally caled Goerz USA. What was left of that company (corpororate shell) after several ownerships was bought by Schneider in the the early 1970's in order to capitalize on the German name.

B&J bought the German Goerz company from Zeiss in about 1927. They sold Goerz made and U.S. B&J made Goerz lenses, and all were shown as "Goerz Berlin" mostly with both inch and metric focal length designation.

And so to confuse us all, from the early 1900's until around 1970 or so there were U.S.Goerz lenses in inches and from 1927 until the late 1960's from B&J there were Goerz Berlin lenses in inches some of which were made in Germany and the rest made legally in Chicago. Goerz and all other lenses made by B&J disappeared when Ilex bought the company, the new owners hated the fact that B&J made lenses. Ilex later sold B&J to Burleigh Brooks Optics, and they in turn made me VP of those two companies. I was proud to be VP of B&J but a bit saddened because the former owner of the company, George Drucker, was a career long friend of mine, but he sold the company a few years before I was VP.


David Lindquist
7-Oct-2010, 10:33
B&J bought the German Goerz company from Zeiss in about 1927.

I don't think this is correct. A 1933 Carl Zeiss catalogue on the "cameraeccentric" website lists the Dagor in several focal lengths, both the f/6.8 (the 36 cm is f/7.7) and the wider angle f/9 versions. (This catalogue also shows Zeiss offering the Hypergon.) See:
And I have record of a "Carl Zeiss Jena Goerz-Dagor", 12.5 cm f/9 offered on ebay with a serial number 2,214,759. A Zeiss lens with this serial number would have been made in 1937.
In fact the evidence is that Zeiss was still making Dagors even as late as 1940. A copy of a Popular Photography buying guide I have, dated May 1940, includes the Dagor in several focal lengths in the listings for Zeiss lenses.
Kingslake, in _A History of the Photographic Lens_ indicates Zeiss acquired C.P. Goerz (Berlin) in 1926.
David Lindquist

Martin Battilana
16-Mar-2011, 02:11
Do you still have this shutter and would you be willing to part with it? I have an identical shutter that is missing a few of the internal parts.

Louis Pacilla
16-Mar-2011, 07:37
This thread is old. it was started in 2007 & last posting was Oct, 2010 until your post. Does not mean that Hugo goes not have the shutter but he may not be around on the forum.

Try sending a personal message to Hugo & remind him of the shutter & lens in this post.