Between a rock and a hard place…

FULDY from Leica Manual 3rd Edition – 1938-9. Bottom slide shown upside down

Toronto. Close-up photography was generally used to close the gap between close photography – say a metre – and a low power microscope. On the 35mm frame the object was about 1/4 to 1/1  life size.

In the early 20th century, companies made technical cameras – ones with “double extension” bellows. With ground glass and glass plates or cut film, the photographer could successfully focus on a close-up subject and snap the image, using a good tripod or other stand, of course. I have one such camera made by Nagel before the company was bought out by Kodak in 1932 to make the famous Retina cameras.

In 1930, Leitz announced a model of the Leica with interchangeable lenses. This prompted Willard Morgan to consider ways to equip this interchangeable lens Leica with a ground glass for focusing. Metal extension tubes allowed the little Elmar lens to get closer to the subject.

He came up with a “Sliding Focusing Copy Attachment”, shortly thereafter made and marketed by Leitz NY as the FULDY. You can read about it here in the free pdf versions of the 2nd and 3rd editions of the Leica Manual.

I picked up my example of Willard’s marvellous FULDY on June 14, 1980 at the spring PHSC fair – a two day event, held at the Park Plaza II in Toronto, from Czaba Martoni of Ann Arbor MI. Some later models had a different code name.  A spring loaded arm became common to hold the camera in place (instead of the original’s lens ring).

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