THE PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA

Show & Tell Night, December 21, 2005

Member Presentions

This was another interesting and informative show and tell evening. Over the years these special evenings have shown the wide ranging interests of our members and their amazing knowledge. Feel free to join us at the next show and tell and bring your own special item to share with us.

  Robert Gutteridge

Auction Tale
There are many traditional auction houses as well as eBay to tempt the collector. In this story, Robert placed a winning bid in the recent Bonhams auction in England. His prize was a pair of Kinematograph toy projectors made in the late 1800s by George Carette & Co. of France. Through a misunderstanding on shipping he didn't receive the projectors in time for this meeting. Robert elected to have the auction company handle all the packing and shipping details. When the articles didn't arrive, he contacted them and discovered it takes 6 - 8 weeks for goods to arrive by sea. Worse, Bonhams only ships full containers, so any given lot destined for North America must wait until there is a full container load of goods. The irony was that a large American collection had been shipped to England for this auction. This was puzzling since magic lanterns and slides would have sold at a higher price on this side of the Atlantic. For example, some batches of mechanical slides sold for less than $200 Canadian.

In another auction on eBay, Robert bid on an Irwin toy projector. Until the final moments he thought he was going to get it for 49 cents (plus 10 cents per film loop) when suddenly a bidder using a sniper program shot the price up over $200 US. Robert's slightly higher maximum bid carried the day at the last second. The competing bidder was a train collector - one of the 10 cent loops featured a train sequence.

 

Robert Gutteridge holds up the lot details
Kinematograph from papers Robert is holding - sorry, no enlarged image.
Keystone 16mm "A" on left and "C" on the right

New direction in collecting
Robert announced that he has changed the focus of his collection from Kodak to choosing the first models from any maker. Determining the first model isn't always easy. For example, Robert showed us two early Keystone 16mm cameras - A model A and a model C. You would think the answer would be simple: model A. However; that is incorrect. The model C was the earlier model. For Keystone, the "C" stood for "crank" and refers to the fact that this earliest of the Keystone 16mm cameras is operated solely by a manual crank. No spring, no governor. The aspiring cinematographer cranked the handle exposing 8 frames per turn. Model A versions show up often on eBay where you can get one for as little as $10 US - with another $20 for shipping!  

Robert's next step is acquiring the earliest Super-8 models. If you are interested in amateur cine gear check out Images of Vintage Film Cameras & Projectors.

Closeup of information table on the model "A" camera

Maurice Jackson-Samuels

Calculators and cameras
Sammy is well known to our members as a cinematographer and more recently for his interest in collecting and fixing watches. Sammy and his wife got into the movie industry in the 1950s making films for government. It quickly became apparent that they needed to keep a close eye on expenses to avoid accidental bankruptcy! To aid them in this task, Sammy felt a suitable calculator was in order. Now this was in the days of large mechanical calculators, decades before the modern inexpensive digital variety became common-place. In this universe of heavy electric and hand operated office machines, a small hand held calculator caught their attention. 

The Curta is a tiny cylinder-shaped marvel then made in Lichtenstein by Contina AG, a company associated with Zeiss. The calculator came with a book of calculating techniques that expanded on its four function capability (add, subtract, multiply and divide). It was designed by Curt Herzstark while he waited rescue from a concentration camp near the end of WW2. Herzstark came from a family whose business was the manufacture of traditional mechanical calculators. 

Sammy pointed out that the Curta cost about £10 in 1950, easily a week's wages. Curta calculators were made and sold from the late 1940s to the early 1970s and are collector's items today. You can learn much more about the little mechanical devices at Rick Furr's Curta Calculator site. It's well worth a visit.

Sammy holding his Curta calculator
Curta model 1 with case open (left) and closed (right)
Close look at the Curta in hand

Bill Kantymir

One more off the top 150 list
We have become accustomed to Bill showing up on show & tell night with something very unusual and tonight was no exception. He and son John have a list of "must have" historic cameras they would like to own. Tonight's item is one from the list, one that most people have only seen in books. It is the French hand camera called the Photosphere, made in 1899 by Cie Francais de Photographie of Paris.

This unusual plate camera was made in three sizes (one larger and one smaller than the examples shown here tonight) plus a stereo version. Bill's model is the earlier version with a separate viewfinder. It uses 6 x 12 plates and is equipped with an equally rare Krause-Zeiss f/8 120mm Anastigmat lens. Krause was one of a half dozen or so opticians licensed to manufacture Zeiss lenses. The Anastigmat was first made in 1890. A decade later Zeiss began using the name "Protar" for its lenses after an  unsuccessful attempt to register "Anastigmat" as a trademark.

All Photosphere cameras were constructed of metal-oxidized silver-plated brass and used a hemispherical guillotine shutter. The example Bill bought came with a viewfinder, ground glass, lens, leather case, and two plate holders. The shutter wasn't working, but his purchase included a second 6 x 12 Photosphere body with a working shutter but no plate holders, lens or viewfinder.

The cameras were offered as a single lot in the recent Westlicht auction held in Austria. Visit their web site to view their illustrated catalogues.

After hearing Robert Gutteridge's shipping tale. Bill felt it necessary to point out that he had his purchase shipped from Vienna by UPS. It took four days to arrive and cost him €110 plus GST and PST. A much faster service for somewhat less than twice the price Robert paid for delivery by sea.

Photosphere
Photosphere
Photosphere
Photosphere
Photosphere
Photosphere Photosphere Photosphere Photosphere - side view Photosphere - pair Photosphere
Photosphere showing name plate Photosphere - both bodies and leather case Photosphere - shutter Photosphere - shutter showing aperture Photosphere - view of lens engraving Photosphere - closeup of lens engraving
Photosphere - front of lens Photosphere - view-finder and shutter cock and release levers Photosphere - back view with plate holder in place

  

 

Ed Warner

The $2.00 camera
President Ed Warner is a garage sale aficionado who enjoys the challenge of resuscitating an old gem. Most of the results he has displayed in past have been wooden view cameras. Tonight's very handsome restoration is a Plaubel Veriwide 100 equipped with an f/8 47mm Schneider Super Angulon lens. 

When Ed spotted it, the camera was a beat-up and rusty looking reject with a frozen shutter, missing its viewfinder and film pressure plate but for $2 it was impossible to turn down! Careful cleaning and rust removal improved the looks dramatically. Next was the shutter. Turned out it was victim of a common fault of shutters from that era. Someone had set it to delayed release and the timer hadn't fully wound down. Fixed. Next the lens. Glass looked okay, but would the front element unscrew? Yes it would, giving access the between-the-lens shutter blades. After a gentle cleaning and lubrication the shutter worked smoothly once again. 

The missing pressure plate was replaced with one from a 6 x 9 junker to complete the transformation of this unique 1959 era extra-wide angle camera to usable condition. Ed is searching for an original Veriwide 100 viewfinder (made by Leitz) so drop him a note if you have one kicking around. 

By the way, the camera takes seven 6 x 10 cm images on 120 roll film and is signed "Brooks - Plaubel  (NewYork Frankfurt a/M)". For a period of time some foreign camera companies added the name of their US distributor to cameras sold in the USA to help  qualify for government contracts (eg Beseler Topcon, Honeywell Pentax). Visit Ken Rockwell's site for more information on the Veriwide 100.

Ed Warner holding his Plaubel Veriwide 100
Front view of the Plaubel Veriwide 100

Robert Wilson

Why you need a transposing frame
Bob Wilson loves all things stereo. Tonight he shared this enthusiasm by explaining in careful detail the subtle complexity of making stereo prints and how to use the traditional transposing frame. This device is needed because the construction of most stereo cameras causes the stereo pair to be transposed on the negative. This has to be corrected during printing to see the correct stereo effect. Mistakes do happen even with commercially published stereo views and you will occasionally look at a stereo image and see that hills have turned into pits. 

Over the years, manufacturers sold companion transposing frames to use with their cameras. The frames varied in ease of use, but in each case they allowed the darkroom worker to print the left image of the negative pair on the right side of the print and the right negative image on the left side of the print. Without a transposing frame, the print had to be cut in two, the pieces switched, and taped back together. Bob demonstrated four transposing frames included ones for a number 2 Stereo Brownie and for a pre-Kodak Hawk-eye camera made by Blair. The last frame Bob demostrated was the only one using a single window to expose each side of the stereo pair. 

Wrapping up, Robert showed a modern in-camera solution using offset lenses and mirrors to correctly transpose the stereo pair on the negative. Made by Loreo Asia,  the Photokit MkII is an inexpensive 35mm camera. It has a clip-on nose piece which acts as an external sternum to improve image separation. The film can be processed and printed at any commercial print house - just make sure they know it isn't a half-frame camera or the operator may cut the stereo pairs in two!

Robert Wilson and his transposing prop
Transposing frame - for #2 Stereo Brownie negatives
Transposing frame - for #2 Stereo Brownie negatives
Transposing frame - for #2 Stereo Brownie negatives
Transposing frame - for #2 Stereo Brownie negatives
Transposing frame - for Blair Hawk-eye negatives Transposing frame - for Blair Hawk-eye negatives Transposing frame - double window Transposing frame - single window Loreo Photokit MkII Loreo Photokit MkII with nose piece sternum attached

  

 

Ron Anger

Fraud Tale
Ron wrapped up tonight's Show & Tell with a "Tell". One of a number of our members who sell on eBay, Ron's tale was of an attempted fraud. The story begins with the auction of a black Leica. A couple of weeks after the camera was sent on its way to the winning bidder, Ron received a call advising him a Pounds Sterling bank draft sufficient to cover the price of the camera and shipping was on its way to him. When he pointed out to the caller that the camera had already been sold, the caller offered to buy another Leica from Ron and have him return the balance from the bank draft  with the camera. 

To Ron's surprise, the buyer sent a bank draft for £2,000 to cover a camera worth an eighth that amount! Finding the whole episode suspicious, he took the draft to his bank for advice. Under careful scrutiny it proved to be a rather poorly executed counterfeit document. 

Ron didn't attempt to cash the draft nor did he return it. He never heard further from the so-called buyer. This fraud is a variation of the old scam of buying something cheap at the corner store with a large counterfeit bill and pocketing the change.  

Aid for dry leather
Ron reminded us that he still has a few $2 jars of TALAS leather dressing left. This is the dressing used to restore dry leather on old library books. If you have any need to restore old dry leather on books or cameras, contact Ron through the PHSC.

The high cost of overhead charges
It was a night for stories about shipping and Ron had one too. Some time ago he needed a half dozen small springs to repair a Deardorff camera. He contacted the manufacturer in Chicago and arranged the purchase. Deardorff shipped by UPS insuring the springs for a whopping $60.00 US. Four days later, the agent from "brown" arrived with a bill in hand for $40.00 Canadian in COD charges. These unexpected and added charges consisted of a few dollars in sales tax plus a big UPS handling charge. Ron had already paid Deardorff  for shipping so he refused delivery and called Chicago to have the package re-shipped by mail. It arrived a couple of weeks later. The shipping charge was only $2.50. And best of all, the springs were delivered right to his mail box. No customs fees. No sales taxes.  

And that was it for another session of Show & Tell. We spent a pleasant time after the formal presentations admiring the various goodies, especially the rare Photosphere, and talking with the owners.


All images on this page were taken with a Sony F828 digital still camera and subsequently adjusted in Photoshop CS2. Contents and images are ©2005 PHSC and may be used freely provided the source is clearly indicated. Contact PHSC if you would like more information on the items discussed on this page.

Click on most of the small images to see a larger version in a separate window.

Bob Carter

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