View Full Version : GOERZ LENS - Need help identifying

5-Jul-2010, 23:55

I have a Goerz lens (a family hand-me-down) for which I need information (Age, what is the correct term for this type of lens, what type of photography it was/is used for, etc.).

I'll include everything which is stamped on the lenses and body (Please excuse my lack of correct terminology! :) ).

There is a tag on the shutter body which reads: "C.P. Goerz AM. Opt. Co. New-York XEXCELL SECTOR PAT'D. No I176I (I'm not to sure about the *I*'s).

One lens is stamped with the following:
223092 (Serial #, I presume?).

The other lens is stamped with the following (Here's the good stuff...):
GOERZ DAGOR F 6.8 US PAT No 528155 SERIES III No 3 FOCUS 8 1/4 IN No 223092 (Serial #?).

All lenses are clear. I see no signs of de-lamination. Some of the black paint is flaking off. One leather cover is intact.

Thank you,

Steven Tribe
6-Jul-2010, 01:48
This is a nice shutter/lens set! The lens is a standard Goerz dagor (as it says on the front lens cell) which created a revolution in camera optics when it appeared in the early 1890's. This set is from the Goerz organisation in the US and is from around 1907/1908. Quite a large one too, as this focal length covers a very big sized negative. The 223092 is the serial number - Goerz always stamped the serial number on the rear lens cell as well.

6-Jul-2010, 04:34
Ads attached


6-Jul-2010, 12:04
I've attached some pics....

Thanks for the replies! Now that I know what I have, do I have it professionally cleaned, restored or just use it as a display piece? As I mentioned, the black paint is flaking. It appears the body is aluminum, and is in nice condition. I'm sure after 100+ years the shutter mechanism would need to be looked after.

Any thoughts/opinions?

The advert is just great! This is exactly what my model looks like.

Thanks again,


Steven Tribe
6-Jul-2010, 13:49
Although the 2 lens cells are identical optically, there is a tradition that the lens with the maker's details points away from the camera and can be read when mounted. That is, you should switch them around! The chances of the shutter working (perhaps not perfectly, though) are quite good.

This is a lens which is still in use everyday around the world.

6-Jul-2010, 13:59
Get it cleaned and restored! You've got a gem there.

6-Jul-2010, 14:21
It depends what it costs to "restore." This lens and shutter combo can be had for as little as $ 125 on ebay to as high as say $ 275 for a really clean/nice unit. Its not a "rare" piece by any stretch, but can be used with good results.

Good luck

6-Jul-2010, 22:36
Thanks for the tips, especially regarding switching the lenses! The pics are the way I received the lens/shutter. The shutter does seem to work fine.

Is there any kind of gentle/light cleaning I can do without taking it to a camera store which is familiar with these types of lenses? Tools needed? Do camera folk go more for originality, functionality or appearance?

I also received two other large format lenses/shutters along with the Goerz. I'll post info on those after I feel comfortable enough with this one.

I'm just wondering why my relative had these (The lenses are older than he was...) and where did the cameras they fit end up? There is no one to ask who would know, so I'll just have to be content to have them.


Steven Tribe
7-Jul-2010, 02:42
"taking it to a camera store which is familiar with these types of lenses".

Not that easy I'm afraid! Almost all camera shops are basically geared to sales of digital cameras these days. There are people who specialise in cleaning overhaul of shutters and you can find them by searching on this site.

As far as the optics go, this is a simple lens as there are only 4 exterior surfaces to clean. As it hasn't been cleaned for some time, there will be a oil film on the surfaces (smoking, cooking oil fat, finger grease, condensed shutter lubricant etc.). You must expect the glass to be covered with soft dust as well as tiny abrasive dust. Attempting to clean with dry lens paper can produce nasty marks. The usual sequence is air blowing ( the lens held upside down so the "sand" will fall under gravity, followed by gentle lens brush sweeps. With an old lens I would then use plenty of lens cleaning fluid to soften up the "film" which still could hold dust harder than glass. Then remove the excess fluid by an absorbing high quality tissue (the type used for sensitive areas on babies!) without making real contact with the glass. A new thin layer of lens cleaning fluid, followed by gentle rubbing with lens cleaning papir. This last phase will have to repeated a few times as cleaning paper doesn't absorb well. The outer ring on the glass will be the most difficult to get clean. Note that the internal mounting ring should be cleaned as well as nasty things can be hidden there!

Lens fluid is a standard item at most opticians, cleaning papers at camera shops and air blowers/lens brushes are common on e**y.

The chances of finding the surfaces are as good as you thought they were are small - but these are unlikely to really effect it's use.

As soon as it is clean, it will start to attract dust. So it must have front and rear lens caps or a keeper.

This is the way I clean lenses. There is a spray on system which forms a solid coating which can be peeled off - but I have no experience of this method.
The real challenge is to remove the invisible dust before polishing. Cleaning fluid is, in my experience, absolutely necessary with old neglected lenses. Often, the lens surface will look worse during the early stages of this process!

"where did the cameras they fit end up?"

Probably on E**y! This lens could have been a modernisation of an even earlier camera from the 1880's or 90's which had been sold with something called a Rapid Rectilinear lens. Then as new lenses appeared after 1910, the Dragor might have swapped for something a little "faster" like the Tessar. Perhaps the other lenses you have will give more clues?