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Thread: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

  1. #1

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    Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    Just got one of those - dated on the glass to be from 1867

    It surely is a shiny thing (I fear somebody have recently polished all the last century off it...)

    It is a nice lens, but why nickel?

    Show off?

    or?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails hermagis-crome.jpg   hermagis-crome-brass2.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Re: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    Perhaps. Or as part of the corrosion proof "tropical" finish of these years. Or as a modernization effort in later years, maybe to add some more glamour, or to hide the fact that some restored part was re-made in different coloured brass - 19th century cameras and parts had some resurgence as photographers shop and studio decorations in the seventies.

  3. #3

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    Re: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    It is made of nickel so Emil could do experiments in 2013 with a magnet to confirm that it is weakly magnectic!

    It will be surprise if it is made of "The devil's copper" - the original German name for nickel.

  4. #4

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    Re: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    It is made of nickel so Emil could do experiments in 2013 with a magnet to confirm that it is weakly magnectic!

    It will be surprise if it is made of "The devil's copper" - the original German name for nickel.


    So if not the devils copper, then what?

    Is Sevo right? faking beauty?

    EDIT: NOT magnetic...

  5. #5
    Alex Timmermans
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    Re: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    Hermagis did sold Nickel versions. Maybe at that time it was more exclusively?
    As the brass versions were varnished I don't think it has something to do with tropical versions.
    "You dont take a picture, it's given to you"

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  6. #6

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    Re: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    Quote Originally Posted by alex from holland View Post
    Hermagis did sold Nickel versions. Maybe at that time it was more exclusively?
    In 1867 it would have been quite exclusive - probably not out of reach for a maker of optical/scientific instruments, but not yet a everyday technology. If the lens were a decade younger, it might have been the fashion of the year - large scale industrial plating started in the mid to late 1870's, so plating probably was massively hip around then.

  7. #7

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    Re: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    I like it. I've seen a lot of lenses, and I've seen very few from the 1840s to the 1890s in nickel. I have one, perhaps 1869, American. I'd say based on my experience, only 1 out of 75 were nickel originally. Some were done later, as probably your Hermagis. I've never seen a nickel Hermagis, and I've had a bunch.

    There was a period when Nickel plating was somewhat popular on guns, woodstove furnishing, and a lot of things around the 1870s I believe. But nickel lenses were mostly American, that I've seen. Here is one of my Willards.


  8. #8

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    Re: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    Are we talking about German Silver which was the old name for various alloys of copper and nickel (plus things like zink) rather than 100% nickel?

  9. #9

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    Re: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    Are we talking about German Silver which was the old name for various alloys of copper and nickel (plus things like zink) rather than 100% nickel?
    You mean solid German Silver? It looks a little too blue for that (the alloys from that period are yellowish), but that might of course be a issue of the picture. Solid German Silver would be more in period than platings, and much less odd than solid Nickel - but I would not even exclude the latter, 19th lens makers did make some strange material choices (like Voigtländer making the barrels on some of their top price lenses from Aluminium while that was still a rare and precious metal).

  10. #10

    Re: Nickel (?) Hermagis Petzval....

    Quote Originally Posted by alex from holland View Post
    Maybe at that time it was more exclusively?
    Yes.

    Now we think of brass (with wood) as the class act, but 100 years ago (and earlier) brass was the second choice.

    The top of the line would likely be nickel plated: metallic nickel, not "german silver."

    To a casual observer it can be mistaken for chrome.

    I think that those of you familiar with the old catalogs could confirm that nickel plating on the camera brass was a premium item.
    Vincent

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