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Thread: Strange Petzval

  1. #1
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    Strange Petzval

    I bought a matched pair of 6 inch Petzvals earlier this year and had a stereo camera built. There are some anomalies about these lenses. One has etched in the brass is "Marion & Cie, Paris". The other is unengraved. There is some pencil writing on the edge of the rear element that I can't quite make out. It's not "Marion" though, and it's not a name I can recognize such as Darlot, Lerebours etc. I'm guessing Marion & Cie was a wholesale supply company and the lenses are renamed. Next, one of the lenses has "XIII" engraved on different parts of it and written in pencil on the edges of the elements, and the other lens has "XIIII" on it. I'm guessing this was for lens assembly, to keep them straight. Next we go to the Waterhouse slots. The lenses have them, but it's just a slot in the barrel at the fully retracted position. There is no notch in the sleeve that would allow the tabs (tops) of a waterhouse stop to protrude and miss the sleeve when you focus it (A sleeve cut out.) I've not seen another Petzval like this. There are two baffles inside the lenses to hold a stop in place. Finally I come to the rear group (air spaced double). One lens has two small brass spacer rings. When you screw in the internal brass keeper it does not screw in quite all the way. On the other lens it screws in flush with the casing. The reason for this is one lens has TWO brass spacing rings between the rear elements, and the other has only ONE. The lens group with two spacers does not rattle when shaken, the lens group with one spacer does rattle. General construction: the lenses have deep lens hoods, flat knurled focus knobs, and twin internal baffles. The appearance makes me think late 1850s, but who knows? The lenses came from Denis Krieg in Germany. I can post a few photos tomorrow. Any idea of what I have here?


    Kent in SD
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  2. #2

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    Re: Strange Petzval

    Marion was a unusual rare company with both a thriving Paris and London company. They may have commisioned optics, cameras and ancillary photographic items on which they put their own name. Both companies were probably subsidized by sales of photographic consumables- like CdeV cards etc. The UK company became part of the major merging of surviving companies at the start of the 20th C.

    The Roman numeral marking to identify which handout thread is the best match for another thread is a consequence of the low precision of the old method of hand cutting female/male threads.
    I believe that Jamin was an early supplier to the French Marion. So this might be the name you are trying to read in Indian Ink on the lens edge.
    The added basic Waterhouse stop is typical for what these 40’s and 50’s became after 1860. They may have had lens insert cup stops originally. Look for traces of wear patterns inside the hood. They would have been used on sliding box or rachet track focusing stereo, where use of the two rachet, without some kind of linkage, would not be a good idea.
    More when you have photos, perhaps!

  3. #3
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    Re: Strange Petzval

    The Petzvals are obviously made as a pair for stereo work. Almost every other stereo camera I've seen has rapid rectilinear lenses. Those are much smaller/lighter than Petzvals and give sharper results away from the center. I'm thinking that's a clue my lenses were made before the invention of the RR lens. Here's some photos of the writing on the edge of the lenses. I can't quite make it out but it doesn't look Darlot, Secretans, etc. or anything I'm familiar with.


    Kent in SD
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Stereo3.jpg   20220625_223517[1].jpg   5796[1].jpg   PetzElm2-gigapixel-art-scale-4_00x.jpg  
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  4. #4
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    Re: Strange Petzval

    A couple of enhanced photos of the writing.


    Kent in SD
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails PetzElm1-art-scale-4_00x-gigapixel.jpg   PetzElm3-art-scale-4_00x-gigapixel.jpg  
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  5. #5
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    Re: Strange Petzval

    Stereoviews started around 1855. My instincts are telling me these lenses might be from late 1850s--deep lens hood, flat focus knob, waterhouse slot appears cut in after manufacture. Did not notice any scuffing to the blacking inside the lenses but the baffles that hold the stop in place don't seem to be soldered in. Friction fit.


    Kent in SD
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  6. #6

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    Re: Strange Petzval

    My guess is that the writing has been made by someone who has redone the balsam at some stage in the German speaking part of Europe. I think there is some background text which is now completely illegible. I read this as:

    “ A. Pxxxx am Dxxxx”

    The “am” is very clear and is used to connect a person with his place of abode! Or a town/city with the river that passes through it.
    I have seen German Lenses before with even owner’s names and addresses.

  7. #7
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
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    Re: Strange Petzval

    really intriguing... In the first picture the lettering (in part) combined with the 3rd picture, seems to read "in Döbeln" , and there is a city in Germany with that name.

    It might help to illuminate the letters from behind....or illuminate with UV light
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