View Full Version : Help me refine Voigtlander Serial Numbers

9-Feb-2013, 13:52

I have been working on refining Voigtlander serial numbers from 1840-1878 by using the Lens Collectors Vade Mecum (http://antiquecameras.net/lensvademecum.html), Carsten Grabenhorst's book Voigtlander & Sohn, as well as other contemporary sources like Humphrey's Journal, BPJ and other periodicals. Not an easy task, especially given Grabenhorst's book is in German and I am using Google translate to read it. By the way, you can see a good sampling of this book here (http://www.appelhans-verlag.de/leseprobe/Voigtlaender+Sohn/index.html#/1/):

While consensus is hard to come by, there are a few confirmed dates that make me feel like the period from about 1852-1868 is pretty accurate. Please note I needed to extrapolate quite a bit to get these numbers to jive with the sources I have found. If you have more data or constructive help, please let me know. In the meantime, here is my most current posting of serial numbers based on my research to date. Please see here: http://antiquecameras.net/voigtlanderlenses.html


Steven Tribe
9-Feb-2013, 16:40
I think "refine" is the wrong word for this!
There is no doubt that the present data in lists for the period around 1870-1880 is pretty spurious.
A very good idea/project.

9-Feb-2013, 17:06
Steven, you should read the Grabenhorst book... he details this period .... If I could only read German, I could dig more..... any German readers want to read my copy of this book and help find out why production all but stopped from 1869-1873 ?


John Fink Jr.
10-Feb-2013, 06:40
Dan, my German is very rusty. I'll try reading through it to see what I can glean from it.
As you know that 1878 period might interest me.
Dan, great work as always.

10-Feb-2013, 07:44
Steven based on your earlier work trying to pinpoint the dating of the Euryscop (Euryskop/Euryscope), the timetable of 22000 c. 1876 and 25,000 c. 1878 seems to hold - doesnt it?

Here is your thread http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?79350-Archaic-Proto-Euryscope

Notice with lens 22957 (from liveauctioneers.com) that these models are distinguished from the older Petzvals by the black painted rings89035 in addition to the newly added numbering "4" for size. This lens is not the standard old Petzval as the number 4 sized Petzval had rack-in-pinion... If it had black trim rings, it isnt a standard Petzval, this seems to be the pre-engraved Euryscop?


PS - # 24927 http://p2.la-img.com/427/26769/10054390_1_x.jpg

# 29xxx http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/1425249

another 29xxx http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/8777339

Steven Tribe
10-Feb-2013, 08:20
Yes, I have already done a check on these RR/Euryskops and compared them with new proposal and it seems to fit very well.

Eder reported on the "new" Euryskops in 1886 (also given in LVM). I would equate this with the introduction of the engraved Euryskop name and the adoption of the series III, IV etc. designations. Which means 32,000 (earliest serial no. for Euryskop engraving) is 1886.

10-Feb-2013, 09:12
The attached ad, published in a book published in 1878, has testimonials for the Euryscope dating to October 1877. It would appear that lenses in the 22,5xx range date to mid 1877 further confirming the serial number table in this range.



Steven Tribe
10-Feb-2013, 09:25
The 1878 advert from B.French is a very early use of the word Euryscope!

Could it be that the label was an American addition, which Voigtländer eventually Germanised and adopted at the time of Eder's visit in 1886?

10-Feb-2013, 12:24
Is the engraving style (not text) on these lenses any indication of year?
For example, one has at the top line "7." (seven dot), while others have no dot.

Steven Tribe
10-Feb-2013, 12:41
There are well documented changes in both the text and engraving styles but dots are not a clue - more likely different staff members. The difficult engraving of N in No. also varies a lot due to the size/curvature of the barrel.
At some stage, Voigtländer adopted an engraving "machine" of some sort - but I know nothing about when, or what it consisted of!

10-Feb-2013, 14:14
Steven - Euryscop(e) was used as a term in an 1878 Vienna based photography book as well. See http://books.google.de/books?id=9i4yAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA72&dq=voigtl%C3%A4nder+euryscop&hl=de&sa=X&ei=owwYUcy5JYaH0QGruYG4Bg&ved=0CDUQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=voigtl%C3%A4nder%20euryscop&f=false

In fact, in this 1882 book, there is a passage about Voigtlander and the making of Euryscops in f/6 speed in 1878 http://books.google.de/books?id=Fiq2AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA242&dq=voigtl%C3%A4nder+euryscop&hl=de&sa=X&ei=owwYUcy5JYaH0QGruYG4Bg&ved=0CC8Q6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=voigtl%C3%A4nder%20euryscop&f=false

And a table listing the sizes !!!


1886 was when Voigtlander announced the PATENTED Euryscop lenses...


Steven Tribe
10-Feb-2013, 16:29
Well this is fun! This table represents an approximation to the later series IV - starting at F6 for the smaller sizes but going past F7 for the larger sizes. But there is no exact correspondence in the larger lens size numbering.
Tomorrow I'll check the old list of unmarked "euryskops" to see how many fits there are to this table.

Hugo Zhang
19-May-2014, 21:07
There is a just ended item on ebay 221440288111. Serial number is 24069. Any idea of its focal length and f stop?

Struan Gray
20-May-2014, 00:16
why production all but stopped from 1869-1873 ?

Franco-Prussian War?

Steven Tribe
20-May-2014, 01:01
Hugo, this is lens that was very popular and is quite "common" in the list of pre-Euryskops from Voigtländer.

It is very close to the later Series IV. The size 6, which this is, has the following data:

Focal length is 21.33", Front lens diameter is 3.5" and listed coverage is for 18x22". This matches well with the lister's physical dimensions (lens - not himself!).

20-May-2014, 06:59
If I could only read German, I could dig more..... any German readers want to read my copy of this book and help find out why production all but stopped from 1869-1873 ?


Hi Dan,

no problem to read and translate. Just send me the text. I'm happy to assist.

Best regards

Hugo Zhang
23-May-2014, 12:44

It is a Petzval and the focal length is not longer than 300mm. Rear elements are two lenses screwed together with a diameter of 3.6 inches. Speed about F/3.5?

23-May-2014, 13:04

Probably a # 6 Petzval - first series - for 8x10 f/3.6 3.5" diameter lenses, back focus should be 9" and F/L about 13.5"


Steven Tribe
23-May-2014, 13:52
Yes agreed. The listing didn't give a good side photo to judge the position of the Waterhouse slot, but it does appear (when you know what to look for!) to be off the central position - which Euryskops have! This is one of the plain barrel Series.