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Thread: Pentac 8" 2.9 markings

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    105

    Pentac 8" 2.9 markings

    So I picked up a Pentac 8 today from an antique store for a very agreeable price but the markings are a bit different than usual. The front reads exactly: PENTAC 8 INCH f/2.9 No026808 N.O.C
    On the barrel it has 14A/780 which seems pretty normal, but on top there is no AM, just something that looks like "/|\" It's not the aperture indicator because that's slightly above it. Also engraved on the barrel in very, very small print three times on each major piece is KL. What's the deal with the NOC and KL?

    Edit: Just found out NOC is National Optical Company, who I presume made this particular copy. The KL and age remain a mystery to me, though.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    NJ
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    Re: Pentac 8" 2.9 markings

    "/|\" is the "broad arrow." It indicates that the item bearing it is crown property.

  3. #3

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    Jul 2006
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    Wirral, UK.
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    Re: Pentac 8" 2.9 markings

    National Optical Company was a Taylor Taylor and Hobson subsidiary. I believe they moved some of their wartime production away from Leicester factory to minimise the loss to lens production should that factory be bombed. Many lenses manufactured away from the Leicester factory were labeled N.O.C.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Re: Pentac 8" 2.9 markings

    Basically with Pentacs there's Dallmeyer, and then everyone else. Dallmeyer being considered best, but the others can be good too, depending on condition.

  5. #5

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    Wirral, UK.
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    Re: Pentac 8" 2.9 markings

    That is like saying nobody can make a Tessar as well as Zeiss. The Pentac is a Dallmeyer design but just because it is a Dallmeyer design it does not mean that the rest of the British Optical industry was incapable of building one just as well or badly. T.T&H knew how to build lenses and they still do. Now probably better known as Cooke Optics they have clearly not forgotten how to do so . Messrs Ross, Wray, Watson and Aldis were no slouches at manufacturing lenses either. The British Optical Industry was greatly expanded to fulfill wartime needs and contracted post war. According to the V.M. T.T&H went from having two factories prewar to having nine.
    This lens was built to fulfill a War Department contract. They were built by a number of manufacturers to specifications stipulated by the War Department. Their is anecdotal evidence that some quality control was patchy as one might expect in an industry that had to expand so quickly and clearly their are Friday afternoon lenses out there but the MOD was and is an exacting customer and at that time the companies only customer so their would have been a strong incentive to get it right.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    105

    Re: Pentac 8" 2.9 markings

    In any case it's in great condition so I'm quite happy, especially with the nearly-nothing I paid. The age is still a mystery to me, though. It seems to be a significantly lower serial number than anything I've encountered online.

  7. #7
    (Shrek)
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Montreal
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    Re: Pentac 8" 2.9 markings

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hesketh View Post
    Their is anecdotal evidence that some quality control was patchy as one might expect in an industry that had to expand so quickly and clearly their are Friday afternoon lenses out there but the MOD was and is an exacting customer and at that time the companies only customer so their would have been a strong incentive to get it right.
    From what I've read of Ross history. the wartime difficulty was in obtaining good quality optical glass, which was made in Germany prior to the war. All of the British manufacturers were easily capable of making a Pentac, but different glasses meant the lens would not perform as designed, or would have large numbers of rejects because of imperfections in the glass.

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