50mm (2") f/2.0 National Optical Co. Anastigmat (LTM)

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by william._a., Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Does anybody on the forum own and use this lens.Its production is surrounded in
    mystery and judging by its extreme rarity it would seem that it was produced in
    very small numbers perhaps one batch of only 250 lenses.It is a British, late
    1940's(?) or early 1950's lens, which is in a Cook and Perkins(marked
    accordingly) focussing mount and barrel and is very similar to the more easily
    acquirable 50mm (2") f/2.0 Taylor,Taylor & Hobson lens fitted also in a Cook &
    Perkins mount which was fitted as standard to the Reid cameras produced by Reid
    & Sigrist in Leicester,England.Some literature suggests that the National lens
    is a clone of the Taylor,Taylor & Hobson lens but this fact is still to be
    researched and resolved and as far as I know the optical formula of the National
    lens (Elements/Groups) is unknown.
    The lens serial numbers engraved on the lens ring are 354xxx and the last three
    digits xxx are engraved on each individual lens barrel which probably means that
    each lens cell was matched to its own particular barrel.
    My lens is 354160 and I only know of one other 354204 at the present time.
    The barrels are also engraved with various British and U.S.Patents, and I
    understand that the British Patents refer to the mounting of the lens cell and
    not to the optical design,the details of the U.S.patents are not known to me.

    British patents:-377537,461304,507184,587090.
    U.S patents:-1955591,2117251.

    If anybody has any further information or owns and uses this lens I would be
    very interested to know.
  2. William, the NOC was reputed to be based in Leicester, like TTH. I have just bought a 105mm
    f3.5 LTM Trinol which has a Scottish (Steweartry) focus part but the optical part is also by
    NOC. I'm still only a few frames into my first roll with it. However, I borrowed a friend's
    Trinol, last year, and thought it gave pleasing results. Not spectacular, just pleasing.

    I'll check up my copy of the Vade Mecum to see what else is known about your lens after I've
    got back from walking my dog aound Primrose Hill.....
  3. According to the Vade Mecum, NOC was a 'daughter company of TTH' which was located
    in Leicester and created to deal with high product demand during WW2.

    Your lens is of similar design to the Amtoal that was also made by TTH. It is described as a
    6-glass Gauss. It was priced relatively cheaply and was probably intended for the Periflex.

    Incidentally, my Trinol is described as having 'good if not outstanding performance'.

    Hope this helps.
  4. BTW, the NOC is not a clone of the TTH lens designed for the Reid.
  5. Hello Andrew,
    Many thanks for this information.I knew of the Amotal which was originally fitted as standard to the American Foton camera.I believe that the surplus Amotals were mounted in Italy for use on Leica Screw mount cameras, but in rather inferior quality mounts.
    I also knew that the National Optical Co. was based in Leicester but was unaware that it was closely linked to Taylor,Taylor & Hobson and owned by them.
    The link to the Periflex camera is interesting because I knew that Ken Corfield had purchased lens elements from the British Optical Co.for his early Periflex cameras e.g.the 50mm f/3.5 Lumar and Lumar-X and the 100mm f/4.0 Lumar.However he did not use the more substantially built and heavier 50mm(2")National Optical lens because his choice of standard lenses for the Periflex were the fore mentioned 4 element Lumar and Lumar-X which were much lighter in weight due to their aluminium mounts and his later lenses he purchased from Enna in Germany.
    Therefore would it be right to assume that the National Optical Co. and the British Optical Co. are the same firm?(Corfield connection)
    I assume the very similar mountings of the National Optical 2" f/2.0 and the T.T.&H 2" f/2.0 have lead to the "clone" theory being attached to these two lenses.
    The Trinol lens is another interesting lens about which there are some facts still with unanswered questions.I read that the Stewartry firm was for a time based in Western-super-Mare (during WW11) and had later connections with Scotland, at which time the Trinol mounts must have been produced because they are marked "Made in Scotland".
    It is a tragedy that the records containing so much information about the British producers of aftermarket Leica Thread Mount lenses and their products in the early Post-War period have not been fully recorded for future generations.Taylor,Taylor & Hobson in particular has been described as the British "Zeiss" because of their long association with, and production of, top quality lenses for many,many years but so little is recorded about this firm and its achievements.
    This lack of information also applies to Dallmeyer,Ross Ensign,Wray and the products of Cook & Perkins (not to mention the Ilford Witness Saga)
    Many Thanks,
  6. Andrew,
    I forgot to mention that I would be very interested in your opinion of the Trinol lens when you have your first film back from processing.
  7. William, you should get hold of a copy of the Lens collector's Vade Mecum. It's a
    fascinating read. It is rather British and Euro-centric in what it covers. Nevertheless, the
    authors reckon that TTH/Cooke are second only to Zeiss in being makers of what they call
    'landmark lenses' which echoes your sentiments on the subject.

    Regarding the Trinol (TRIplet National Optical Lens), this is a lens that is, more or less, 60
    years old and the coating on it is still in excellent condition. Maybe, this isn't so unusual?
    My main gripe is the slightly stiff focus mount. However, once I get some results back I'll
    let you know my thoughts.
  8. Hello, I have this lens. I bought it by accident as it as attached to a Canon rangefinder camera : 'national optical company' sounds Japanese. I then found a suitable Reid body for it. I will post pictures later.
  9. Hello,
    I have a 2 inch NOC f2 lens as well, sn 354210 and a 105 Trinol 3.5 sn 34696 .
    Would also like to find more infos about these lenses !
    Anyone knows their years of production ?
    Cheers, JM.
  10. On the Allied side of WWII, in the absence of a guarantee that the war would end soon, many companies were encouraged to take up manufacture of copies of German cameras and equipment. In most cases, the war ended before these designs were really 'finished' but some companies put their copies for sale in the immediate aftermath of the war when all consumer goods were hard to come by.

    Ironically, the really successful copies were from Germany's ally, Japan (Canon, Nikon, and a few others).

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