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Thread: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

  1. #1

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    Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    I picked up, cheaply enough, what I thought was probably a Rapid Rectilinear lens by C Burr, of London. With a little persuasion it disassembled and after having cleaned decades of caked on muck off the lenses, it turned out to be relatively unblemished with just a couple of very minor scratches. I put it on a camera and cut out a black plastic stop just to try it with. Focal length (stop to film plane) is about 13". Wide open it covered 10" x 8" so I transferred it to a 12" x 10" camera and it still appears to cover this too, even wide open, so obviously greater stopped down. After a bit of research I'm wondering whether its not what I thought. It appears that C Burr was a lens maker (as opposed to retailer) by 1859 - to the trade according to an advert. About twenty years later his lenses were still being advertised, but by a sole agent (Abrahams in London) so he doesn't appear to have been retailing them direct even then. Does anyone have any further information? As ever these small lens makers do seem to be poorly documented. A photo is attached and it is about 2" in diameter and 2 1/2" from flange area to the front. It appears to be simply but well made and the threads are very well cut. Any information would be of interest.
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  2. #2

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    Re: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    August 15th 1860:
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  3. #3

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    Re: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    Burr, Charles, 138, Wakefield St., East Ham, London.
    Burr was listed as a maker of portrait lenses about 1900-1905 and advertised in the B.J.A. The firm were long
    established as opticians, and their range was wider in the 1890's, probably then shrinking as new designs and
    competition came.
    A biggish Petzval has been seen, a No2 lens, about 9in. No 632x, working at about f4. Another portrait was a
    No3 at No4622, of unknown size.
    Fig 024 013 C. Burr Portrait Petzval No6322 No2 size.
    A doublet lens (ie ?RR) on a 12x15in Lizars was No4,78x.
    Wide angle This was noted as a 8in lens for 12x8in with wheel stops

  4. #4

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    Re: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    Hi Paul

    I'm sure that you have access to the 'LVM' but anyhow I've posted the extract from there above

    I've owned (and sold) a handful of Burr's, from memory a couple of Petzval's and WAR's, I always felt that they were well made

    regards

    Andrew

  5. #5

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    Re: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    I'm sure that you're also aware of this (as per the 'early photography' site):-

    138 Wakefield St., East Ham, London From 1890s to after 1942
    195 Devon's Rd., Bow Common, London - 1876 -
    1 Gray's Inn Rd., London 1863 -
    121 Gray's Inn Lane, London WC 1861 - 1863
    48 Clerkenwell Close, London EC c. 1858 -

    Established in 1858, as opticians. In the 1860s they were advertising as lens and camera makers, from the 1900s they are advertising lenses. Charles Burr (b. 1839, d. 1902) was living at the Devon's Rd. address in 1881.
    References: BJA 1903, p. 680.

  6. #6

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    Re: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    Thanks Andrew. I hadn't looked at the VM as yet. The lens has no engraved specifications, nor address. Going from online info I'm thinking it may be a 'widish' RR from the 1870s?

  7. #7

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    Re: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    Thanks Paul

    and btw I haven't seen a lens comparable to yours but there aren't that many Burr lenses 'around' per se

    regards

    Andrew

  8. #8

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    Re: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    And..............

    You have probably seen the reference in 'McKeowns' to Burr having made both a Stereo Tailboard and a Quarter-Plate Wet Camera

    I'm pretty well now 'out' with my contribution(s)

    regards

    Andrew

  9. #9

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    Re: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    No further info on the maker but I have a lens engraved

    C. Burr, Optician. London
    10 x 8 Rapid Doublet
    4539

    It has a slot for stops. I haven't used it (yet) but it is well made and the glass is in excellent condition.

    Apart from the VM and Earlyphotography details that Andrew quoted (and a few other lenses via Google / Worthpoint etc) I haven't seen anything else on the maker, so would also be interested if anything turns up.

    Stating the obvious but it must have been a very natural progression for an optician to start manufacturing cameras lenses.

  10. #10

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    Re: Information sought on a lens by C Burr, London

    Could you tell me the physical dimensions of your lens please?
    Last edited by pgk; 7-Jul-2020 at 10:46.

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