Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 33

Thread: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    183

    New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    I have compiled a Wollensak Lens and Shutter Compendium, a guide to all Wollensak commercial lenses and shutters made for still cameras from 1899 to 1972, including basic product specifications and production date ranges. This is available at https://alphaxbetax.com/wollensak-le...ter-compendium.

    As background, I find Kodak’s CAMEROSITY production year code to be one of the most satisfying nuggets in large format photography. Knowing when a trusty or valued lens was made seems to enhance my enjoyment just a bit by adding some historical context and perspective.

    As I have come to enjoy and appreciate Wollensak lenses and shutters more and more, I hoped to find a similar Rosetta Stone of Wollensak production information. Unfortunately, I have concluded that if such a Wollensak production ledger or serial number master list ever existed, it is probably lost to the ages.

    But in the course of seeking Wollensak production documentation, I amassed a bibliography of Wollensak literature from personal, public, and research collections. All of these Wollensak catalogs, brochures, price lists, etc. which can be freely shared in the public domain are now available at https://alphaxbetax.com/wollensak-catalogs-etc. Although I link to the Camera Eccentric collection as the backbone of early Wollensak references, I am pleased to note that I have posted scans of over 100 additional Wollensak resources hitherto unavailable on the web.

    The Compendium is a work in progress. Doubtless there are errors I have not caught and products I have omitted. The gaps in available Wollensak catalogs make many production dates uncertain, though they are pretty well constrained. I will continue to refine the Compendium as more Wollensak references trickle in.

    If you have comments or corrections, please do not hesitate to let me know. Alternately, if you would like to make available Wollensak resources not yet encompassed by the study, I would be very pleased to incorporate them with due credit. Lastly, if you have suggestions for the Series Notes section of individual lenses or shutters, I would warmly welcome concise factual summaries of your favorite Wollensak products. I confess that the scope of trying to encompass all of the products left me unable to concentrate on giving great insight into any one product.
    Last edited by Whir-Click; 11-Oct-2019 at 20:00.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    New York City & Pontremoli, Italy
    Posts
    715

    Re: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    Fantastic resource. Thank you for putting so much time an effort in compiling it and for sharing it.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    now in Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,879

    Re: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    You've created a marvelous resource- congratulations.
    The empty Wollensak factory still stands on Hudson Ave. in Rochester; I'd meant to photograph it, and wondered what might be left inside, but life got in the way and I moved first to Virginia and now Arizona...next month when I return to my home town I'll take a look.
    There is a long thread on this forum, from some years back, attempting to find out the age of Wollensak lenses by serial#. Without much success as I recall. Perhaps you can find some useful information there.

  4. #4

    Re: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    Nice resource.

    I do see a mistake in that the Velostigmat series 1 is not a double Protar like the 1a, but air spaced cells said to be much like the later Cooke triple convertible. I doubt that information shows up in Wollensak information, but Kingslake mentions it in various places. Plus, I think several people here know a fair bit about those. That was one of the designs they got with the Royal line, and is thought likely to be a design by Ernst Gundlach. I've not had one, but always found it intriguing. It seems like a safe assumption that the change to all cemented design like the Protar came with the 1a designation, but I doubt we can know that with absolute certainty.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    183

    Re: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    Thank you for your kind words, Renato and Mark.

    I took the forum thread on Wollensak serial numbers as my starting point several months ago, and back in January I spent hours combing through all the documents Fred Lamothe (Surplus Shed) had pulled out of 850 Hudson after he purchased the building in the 2000’s. Many interesting optical drawings (Surplus Shed sells a CD with scans), Fastax documents, etc., but not a ghost of factory production documentation.

    I thought I’d try for one more crack at whatever Fred hadn’t removed from 850 Hudson, but I was too late- conversion of the building into affordable housing units is already underway. No real opportunity missed, however, as the kind folks at the Urban League of Rochester (financing the re-purposing into housing) informed me that the building’s roof had collapsed years ago and there was nothing salvageable inside.

    All this convinced me to stop looking for a magic bullet of Wollensak production information and instead gather together the existing product literature into a single resource. The Compendium is my attempt at making Wollensak products accessible to newcomers and giving the company their due as a longtime, innovative cornerstone of the Rochester Optical industry.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    75

    Re: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    Excellent, thank you!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    183

    Re: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    Mark, thank you for the correction and I’ve already made the fix. I’ve had a Velostigmat Series I apart in my hands and it is two pairs of cemented doublets in each cell. Larger image circle than the 1a and slightly (I think pleasantly) more mellow image quality, but still plenty sharp.

  8. #8

    Re: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    Quote Originally Posted by Whir-Click View Post
    Mark, thank you for the correction and I’ve already made the fix. I’ve had a Velostigmat Series I apart in my hands and it is two pairs of cemented doublets in each cell. Larger image circle than the 1a and slightly (I think pleasantly) more mellow image quality, but still plenty sharp.
    Nice to know about the coverage. It would have been interesting to see how that design held up once lens coating came along. The Cooke seems to have fared well as an uncoated lens though.


    The 1a is a fine lens also. They don't seem to have documented the speed of the individual cells in their literature, but I have a 1a Velostigmat 13/20/25 1/2 with equal speed cells of f12.5 like the Protars. Most 1a's I've seen have an f12.5 rear and an f16 front. I'd be curious if that was common across the line, and changed at a particular point. I think the change was likely to allow fitting into a smaller mount/shutter since the front gets disproportionately large at 12.5, and the overall speed of the combined lens is limited by the smaller/shorter focal length rear cell. The practical difference would mostly have been a bit brighter image for focus with the front cell, since most everyone stopped them down for use.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    183

    Re: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    I mis-typed 850 Hudson Ave above when I meant 872 Hudson Ave in Rochester.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	FFD53264-9225-492A-B424-29CEA21566BC.jpg 
Views:	54 
Size:	52.3 KB 
ID:	190202

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    7,615

    Re: New Resource for Wollensak Lenses and Shutters

    Your page on Alphax and Betax shutters has more information about them, in particular tube lengths and threading, than you put in your new compendium. Suggest that you replace the Alphax and Betax sections in the compendium with a link to that page. Also, I think -- could well be mistaken -- that Deltax and Gammax shutters were made to the same standard as Alphax and Betax. If I'm right, ...

Similar Threads

  1. Are Optimo dimensions consistent with later Wollensak shutters?
    By Whir-Click in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 30-Dec-2018, 10:47
  2. Is there a lens comparison resource for LF lenses?
    By arkadi in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 59
    Last Post: 12-Sep-2015, 08:26
  3. Wollensak Shutters
    By Bernard Kaye in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 14-Dec-2009, 13:23

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •