Toronto. In the 1970s, there was lots of information on the history of Leica cameras, lenses and accessories. The trouble was, this information was widely scattered in catalogues, manuals, patents and magazines. Dr Neill Wright and Colin Glanfield in England set about solving this problem. They did this by publishing a book in manuscript form which they called The Collector’s Checklist of Leica Cameras, Lenses and Accessories, and Leica Biography which was first published in October of 1974, the same year as our society was established. The authors credit Ivor Matanle, Tom Marsh, Sam Tamarkin and many others for assisting.
Later publications provided detailed records of camera and lens serial numbers thanks to the generosity of Leitz and the fact the factory in Wetzlar survived the second world war intact unlike Zeiss Ikon. Late in the war the city of Dresden was totally flattened by allied bombs. After the war ended, Jena, the home of Zeiss, found itself in Russian hands until East and West Germany were reunited with the fall of the Soviet Union. The best source of Zeiss-Ikon data today is Larry Gubas’ massive and beautiful book Zeiss and Photography.
I bought the third and fourth editions of Checklist published June of 1977 (3rd) and March of 1980 (4th). I passed the third edition on to a member of the PHSC and a fellow Leica collector. I still have the fourth edition of some 185 single-sided type-written pages. Neill’s Checklist predated the series of Hove catalogue and manual reprints and the more recent coffee table sized Leica books with their high quality illustrations and fonts. Checklist remains one of my go-to books for Leica information.