View Full Version : Lancaster Gilt Band Ex-Rapid Rectigraph

Chauncey Walden
21-Jan-2011, 16:27
Actually what is engraved on the barrel in full is:
1/1 pl. Gilt Band Ex-Rapid Rectigraph Patent.
J Lancaster & Son - Birmingham.
When CCHarrison listed this for sale some months back there was no way I could resist it. Fellow members accused me of doing it just for the case - black velvet, blue silk, gilt hardware and all. But it just looked so cool! A vintage ad (the Rectigraph was made from 1889 until sometime in the first decade of the 20th century) that Dan had posted described it as:
376 AL - Gilt Band Aluminum Mounted Extra Rapid Rectigraph Working at f/6 in Leather Case. A Superb Lens.
The Vade Mecum allows that: Extra Rapid Rectigraph No376 This was an f6.0 for 1/4, 1/2, whole plate sizes. It was also made as a premium price product in aluminium as No376AL for lightness.
Also: These can look quite impressive when the metals are used in contrasting colours as red brass and yellow or aluminium barrel with a red brass control ring. (It is assumed both are brasses but this is not certain.) This is far in advance of many makers of the period. Today they can command a premium from sales for the
The front and rear rings could be a red brass, but the aperture ring is definitely gilded and the gold plating is still in shining splendor. There are 3 sets of numbers associated with the aperture ring. One set is US (Uniform Standard) stops from 2.25 to 225, one is f/stops from 6 to 60, and the third is a "time" scale from 1 to 64. The Lancaster Rectigraph is a high quality rapid rectilinear and the iris has 16 curved leaves for a beautifully round aperture. The focal length for whole plate was listed at 11 1/2 inches and this seems to be about right.
I mounted it in an aluminum board for my whole plate Rittreck and left the front of the board bare to match the lens. Eventually, I got around to trying it out. I made a set up in Rocky Mountain NP (on a misty, sleeting day I might add) that I thought would be a good test and took the same shot with a 12 inch Commercial Ektar as a comparison. Dan (CCHarrison) asked me to post an image from it when I got around to using it so I will along with the one for the Ektar. As you might be able to see, it forms a pretty good image. The center is certainly nearly as sharp as the Ektar but the extreme corners suffer some. On 5x7 it would be hard to tell which is which. Of course, being uncoated the contrast is down a bit from the Ektar. But, you can be the judge of that. It is certainly prettier than the Ektar;-) By the way, both lenses were only stopped down to f/22 to better judge the lens. The Lancaster gets a full aperture on whole plate at f/11.

22-Jan-2011, 05:18
Thanks for the post Chauncey. That lens ( and case ) is a work of art. Had it had the flange, I would never had sold it. Since my sale, I have seen the same lens on ebay twice - albeit in 1/2 plate size....While not an optically exciting lens, its worthy to sit in any lens collection.

Best wishes to you and your lens !


22-Jan-2011, 05:25
I agree, and would have bought it if you didn't. It would be interesting to compare prices for their regular brass model with this one, in period ads.