View Full Version : Black Painted Brass Lenses

30-Oct-2011, 14:02
I've seen a few black painted brass lenses for sale from time to time, and was wondering when they might have been made? One was a simple RR--a Roman Talbot I think. Another was a pillbox/meniscus lens the seller was claiming was from pre 1850. I'm skeptical on that one. So, when were brass lenses painted black in the 19th century? Did that happen with pre-Civil War lenses (i.e. pre 1860s?)

Kent in SD

Nathan Smith
30-Oct-2011, 14:22
I don't have any info on these, but the date info that sellers give is very often taken from patent numbers which aren't very useful for date of manufacture.

Steven Tribe
30-Oct-2011, 15:36
It is very difficult to be sure about the originality of black enamel. Plain brass finishes did become "old fashioned" during the early 20th C but makers were very very different in the speed of inovation - some resisted for a long time. Romain Talbot, when he moved to Berlin, was one of the earliest with stylish black aplanats. Some of the more expensive studio lenses had their black enamel removed in recent times to give them a more vintage appearance. On the other hand, studios may have gotten their decades old lenses "renewed" by a thin coat of enamel - "Oh yes, we use the most modern lenses available".

30-Oct-2011, 15:46
B&J did aftermarket painting and coating, but that was much later than the time frame you're talking about.