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Thread: Wollensak serial numbers again

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    Wollensak serial numbers again

    I was just browsing eBay, came across a listing http://www.ebay.com/itm/CLEAN-Grafle...-/370759693391 for a 90/6.8 Optar W.A. s/n G35085N with a picture of a bill of sale that says "Shipment scheduled for 12-2-58"

    My first reaction was that this might help us understand the relationship between some Wollensak serial numbers and build date. But then I checked my Wolly lenses with serial numbers that begin with an alphabetic character. Four Enlarging Pro Raptars, one Pro Raptar taking lens. Their serial numbers begin with D or E, don't end in a letter. All are plasmat types, Wolly's last gasp, have to have been made well after 1958.

    We've had several discussions of how to translate Wolly serial numbers into build date that went nowhere. I think this new information adds to the confusion.

    Helpful ideas, anyone?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Northern Plains
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    Re: Wollensak serial numbers again

    Along with Darlot serials, I think there may be things that modern man just wasn't intended to know.

  3. #3

    Re: Wollensak serial numbers again

    "Helpful ideas, anyone?"

    Yep, 'G' is for Graflex badged lenses, noticed that a while ago.

  4. #4

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    Re: Wollensak serial numbers again


  5. #5

    Join Date
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    Re: Wollensak serial numbers again

    The Wollensak factory on Hudson Ave. in Rochester has stood abandoned for almost 40 years. Someone has done some 'urban exploration' inside and posted pictures on the net, but didn't seem interested in finding serial number data (no doubt moldering in dark-green steel filing cabinets). I don't get back up north much these days, and sadly never explored this issue when it would have been easier, but someone should mount an expedition up to the really bad part of town and find some answers. The truth is out there, as they used to say on TV...

  6. #6

    Re: Wollensak serial numbers again

    Hi Dan,

    all of the numeric # would be too early, the alpha/numeric # with 'G' I have seen were all badged Graflex not Wollensak. I think they changed to alpha/numeric around 1949-50. Would need to find a Rodenstock Optar to see if they followed the 'G' # scheme. I guess Wollensak sold a lot more lenses to the open market than to Graflex (A, B, C, D, E).

    "Paul, I think the only safe thing we can conclude is that there were no rules in Rochester and no one followed them."
    Yep, seems to be.

  7. #7

    Join Date
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    Re: Wollensak serial numbers again

    Paul, when I looked on eBay for Optars to see whether they all have serial numbers beginning with 'G' I came across a Super Speed Graphic with a 135 Rodenstock Optar in that infernal Graflex shutter. Sorry, no 'G'. None of my Wolly lenses with serial numbers beginning with 'D' or 'E' is an Optar, they're all Raptars. Pro Raptars, in fact.

    Dan "as confused as ever" Fromm

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