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Thread: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

  1. #1

    Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

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Name:	Adolph Rapp Studio Portraitist a.jpg 
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Name:	RnA Rapp Portrait 1898 a.jpg 
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ID:	1290041870-1920 Camera Lens combination??
    I am a volunteer at the South Central Kentucky Culture center in Glasgow, Ky.
    In out efforts to prepare an exhibition of glass plate negatives recently recieved, I was hoping someone might share some knowledge. They were the work of Adolph Rapp. A german immigrant who lived in Glasgow from about 1870-1921. The four photgraphs are courtesy of the Culture Center.
    The later studio portrait is not one of the glass negatves. It is a popular image of him in the studio with his camera.
    The gentleman is Adolph himself and the other is of family members. They are both appx. 5x8 inches on glass plates. They appear to be commercialy manufactured plates.
    My question is:
    In particular the family image, what size lens could have enough coverage in such a short space? Also, what camera could be used outdoors with the same lens?
    I'm sure there can be multiple choices, I don't want to state "This was his camera" but rather show what was in use during the late 1800's to the early twenties.
    We are hoping to have the exhibition in late April. Thanks for any assistance you can share.
    PS: The last photograph shows the building where he had his "North Light" studio and a the photgraph he took of my Great-grandparents. Very special to me, to have not only an original but to know who and where it was taken. They migrated to Indiana in the Fall of 1898.
    Wm.

  2. #2
    Robert Oliver Robert Oliver's Avatar
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    Re: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

    If the plates were 5x7, I would venture to guess he was using a lens of either 10 or 12 inches...

    There plenty of portable 5x7 options as well for outdoor setups.
    Robert Oliver

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    Re: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

    Perhaps you can find an inventory of his studio in public records (wills, conveyances etc...?)
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  4. #4

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    Re: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

    It is interesting in that the camera looks to be of American manufacture. Probably an Anthony studio camera which were made from the 1880's to the early 1900's.

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    Re: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

    the camera he is shown with is probably not the same camera he used outdoors

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    Re: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

    Thanks for posting this, interesting history.

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    Re: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

    Quote Originally Posted by rossn4 View Post
    It is interesting in that the camera looks to be of American manufacture. Probably an Anthony studio camera which were made from the 1880's to the early 1900's.
    It looks very similar to the one I've seen in the HH Bennett studio from about the same time. Would have been taken in Glasgow, KY right?

  8. #8

    Re: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

    Yes He lived in Glasgow, Ky till his death in 1921. Interestingly (at least to me. haha) He is a distant cousin to me.
    Our showing is now scheduled for April 25th till May 30th. We extend a warm welcome to anyone that can come and visit.
    I have five generations of family to research here, from 1898 back.
    Thanks for those that have shared.

  9. #9
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

    Quote Originally Posted by WmRenick View Post
    My question is:
    In particular the family image, what size lens could have enough coverage in such a short space? Also, what camera could be used outdoors with the same lens?
    I'm sure there can be multiple choices, I don't want to state "This was his camera" but rather show what was in use during the late 1800's to the early twenties...
    I'd agree with ross4n that it looks like an Anthony studio 8x10, which may have had a 5x8 back. If that's a Waterhouse stop sticking out the top of the lens, and if it's original to that lens, it's distinctive enough that you may find someone who can identify it. From the size, I'd guess an 8 to 10 inch Petzval or a 12 to 14 inch Rapid Rectilinear.

    The problem with using that same lens on a field camera is the 9x9-inch lensboard. If he didn't have a second flange, he'd have to unscrew the flange and re-install it on a smaller board each time he used it on a smaller camera. I'd guess he had a second camera/lens combination for field work, perhaps something like the ubiquitous 5x8 Scovill, and used that to photograph himself and the studio camera. A Wide Angle Rectilinear may have been used for the wider shots.

    All just speculation, of course...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  10. #10

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    Re: Lenses and cameras 1870-1920

    I would say most any 9 - 10 inch Rapid Rectilinear type could achieve any of those photos on 5X8 format. Lenses in those days had a zoom feature. You picked up your camera and tripod and zoomed forward or backward with your feet.

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