View Full Version : Cooke Butcher/Alddis Butcher

Colin Myers
2-Apr-2008, 00:24
This is often seen on older lenses. An obvious question perhaps, but who was the Butcher part of the name and why the connection. Can anyone help with further information?
Colin Myers

Struan Gray
2-Apr-2008, 02:05
Butcher were camera makers and general photographic traders based in London. As in independent company they mostly re-badged cameras made elsewhere (usually in Germany), but WWI put paid to that and they merged with Houghton to form Houghton-Butcher, which made and sold cameras first under the seperate names but later as Houghton-Butcher.

Butcher, and then Houghton-Butcher made the 'Carbine' series of roll-film folding cameras that later became the basis of the "Ensign" range. This proved so successful that the company eventually changed name again as part of Ensign Ltd.


Colin Myers
2-Apr-2008, 02:19
Thanks for your reply. Does that mean, that lenses marked Cook Butcher, Alddis Butcher etc were probably destined for Butcher cameras?
A modern anology may be "Linhof" selected lenses.

Struan Gray
2-Apr-2008, 02:24
Almost certainly.

Butcher may have made their own lenses at some point, but the cameras I have seen have always had other manufacturers' optics.

Aldis made some interesting lenses in their time, they're one of the forgotton British lens makers. Until I was given an early Ensign tropical folder I knew of Aldis only as a maker of cheap projectors (there's usually one gathering dust at the back of every UK school and college lecture hall).

I think Dan Fromm uses Aldis Unos, perhaps he'll chip in.

Dan Fromm
2-Apr-2008, 03:06
Colin, I don't think the Linhof analogy is apt. It is true that Aldis, Schneider, and TTH were/are merchant lens makers and that the lenses they delivered to camera manufacturers such as Butcher and Linhof were standard production items. But Linhof's propaganda makes the point that Linhof tests/tested lenses on arrival and rejected some. I don't think that Butcher made such a claim.

Struan, I have three Unos. I use my 4.75"/7.7 Uno pour epater les bourgeois and to make the point that uncoated old lenses can do very well with color films. This one is a real Uno, i.e., f/7.7 and the classic "2/1 with the rear element nearly flat on both sides" Uno formula. I have another real Uno, ?/7.7, probably around 135 mm, in a broken Lukos shutter. I hardly use it because I have much brighter somewhat sharper 135s and the 4.75" makes the point. And then there's a 4"/4.5 as used, I think, on the Ensign Autospeed or Ensign Focal Plane Rollfilm Reflex, later called Speed Reflex. This is a simple Cooke triplet; its finally on board and due to be tried out later this spring. So Uno is just another trade name.



Peter K
2-Apr-2008, 05:43

an analogy to the "Technikon" made by Rodenstock? BTW the pre WW II Technika II was also sold by the photodealer Porst in Nuremberg branded as "Universal-Kamera 'Silar' ".


Peter K

Dan Fromm
2-Apr-2008, 06:46
Peter, the Technikon and Technikar are analogous to the various Ilex, Rodenstock, and Schneider lenses that Calumet has sold as Caltars. All standard production items rebadged to order. Yamasaki also did a lot of that, one sees Congo lenses (their brand) engraved Astragon, Prinz, and who knows what else. But AFAKI Calumet did no QC, and neither did the distributors of rebadged Congos.