Europe/UK. 1839 – what an amazing year. It started with a bang when not one but two revolutionary photographic processes were formally announced… and the race was on to make the fabulous new art faster and better.
Optical houses began to manufacture special photographic lenses beginning with Petzval’s famous design for the Daguerreotype cameras. In the mid 1800s Germany’s famous microscope optical institutes blossomed. By the end of the 1800s both cameras and microscopes were well known and refined. Early in the last century many microscope companies began to produce cameras and lenses including Leitz and Zeiss.
By licensing its famous designs such as Rudolf’s 1902 Tessar, Zeiss was able to expand rapidly. Zeiss used local manufacture (such as Krauss in Paris) to eliminate the high import tariffs of the day while maintaining quality.
Here I show the brass 35mm Tessar f/3.5 with an RMS thread (the standard light microscope thread for many years), The little thumb-knuckle size lens and mount was intended to be attached to a microscope in place of the objective to capture magnified images at low power. In this case, I have mounted it on a Leitz extention tube that converts the RMS thread to a 39mm screw mount Leica thread. A couple more adapters, and it attaches to a modern day Sony NEX-6 camera.
This particular little brass Tessar was manufactured under licence in Paris by E Krauss who made both microscopes and cameras. I photographed the Tessar with an unusual industrial Leitz Canada 65mm f/4 Elmar. I was able to mount the Elmar on a Bellows II thanks to some creative thread cutting orchestrated by maestro Ed Warner, PHSC’s very special electrician and machinist.