Carl Zeiss Age Lens by the Serial Number

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by carlos_alberte_send_n, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. I have some Carl Zeiss Lens of Large format. How I Know its Age? by
    the serial number? someone has this information?
     
  2. Carlos Alberte, there are many lists of Zeiss serial numbers with dates of manufacture. What is your lens' serial number?

    Regards,

    Dan
     
  3. I can date Carl Zeiss lenses that are post WWII by serial number. I am leaving town for a week. Please send me an e-mail to remind me (otherwise I will probably forget, as I will not have any access to a computer).
     
  4. where can i see the lists of zeiss serial number with dates of manufacture?

    The lens:

    Carl Zeiss Jena D.R.P Anastigmag 195/9 84984
    Carl Zeiss Jena series Ic 180/4,5 399520
    Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 135/4,5 2131960
    Carl Zeiss Planar 80/2.8 4120253
    Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 250/4,5 5637142
    Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 300/4,5 3538
    Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 210/4,5 10229470
     
  5. From the Lens Collector's Vade Mecum:

    (a) Classic Zeiss Jena numbers.
    It does seem that very low numbers do exist, and it is suggested that they begin at Jena at 1,000 in about
    1890, unless information to the contrary is found. There may also be unnumbered lenses, possibly when they
    are one of a stereo pair, though confusion with licencees lenses can occur. There seems then to be a gap to
    1912. Two listings then exist, and run very much in parallel. One is by G. Gilbert, in "Collecting
    Photographica" and is reproduced in the back of McKeown's "Price Guide". The other is given in "Chiffres
    Cles" by P-H. Pont. As a collector, the main point is that they do tell the same story within the time span that
    interests one. The following is a shortened version of the one in "Chiffres Clef" with some extra notes added
    from experience here. It is tentative in places.
    !890 Anastigmat production begins. this is partly licensed to others, including Voigtlaender for
    Germany.The earliest Zeiss Anastigmat noted so far is No1,51x suggesting a possible No1000 start at Jena
    for camera lenses: but note an aplanat for projection seems anomalous.
    1895 Voigtlaender stops production of Zeiss designs, suggesting Zeiss had expanded production facilities
    to make the lenses at Jena.
    1900 c. 44,040 as Unar sales begin, production of anastigmats reaches 100,000, with about 44,000 by
    Zeiss and 56,000 under license.
    1902 Tessar f6.3 launched. This must have been one factor leading to a big expansion of demand and
    production.
    1908 91,711 + 103,3xx, 104,2xx noted on cameras burgled at N&G, London (Manthos article), but note
    N&G may have lagged in fitting as cameras made in 1912 had lenses No133,73x- say a year in store or
    transit.
    Year Serial Numbers Number of
    (begin + end) numbers used
    1912 No173,418- 200,520 27,102
    1913 No208,473-249,350 40,877 Carl Zeiss London here (see below)
    1914 249,886-c252,739 2853
    1915 c282,800-c284,500 1700
    1916 c285,200-c288,100 2900
    1917 289,087-298,157 9070
    1918 298,215-322,748 24,533
    1919 322,799-351,611 28,812
    1920 375,194-419,823 44,629
    1921 433,273-438,361 5088
    1922 422,899-498,006 75,107
    1923 561,270-578,297 17,027
    1924 c631,500-578,297 17,000
    1925 c631,500-c648,500 29,513
    1926 666,790-703,198 36,408
    1927 722,196-798,251 76,055
    1928 c903,100-c908,150 5,050
    1929 919,794-1,016,885 97,091 This is about the change over to rimset Compur shutters
    1930 922,488-1,239,697 317,209
    1931 1,239,699-1,365,582 125,883 First Contax lenses here.
    1932 1,364,483-1,389,279 24,796
    1933 1,436,671-1,456,003 19,332
    1934 1,500,474-1,590,000 89,526
    1935 1,615,764-1,752,303 136,539
    1936 1,674,882-1,942,806 267,924 The switch to chrome finish begins at about 1.89 million.
    1937 1,930,150-2,219,775 289,625
    1938 2,267,991-2,527,984 259,993
    1939 2,527,999-2,651,211 123,212
    1940 2,652,000-c2,678,000 26,000
    1941 2,678,326-2,790,346 112,020
    1942 2,800,000- ?
    1946 2.8m * The last numbers are from an obviously different source and are of unknown
    1947 2.9m accuracy. It is an anonymous item. Thus they are distinguished by quoting as M
    1948 3.0m for million.
    1950 3.2m
    1951 3.3m
    1952 3.4m
    1953 3.6m
    1954 3.8m
    1957 4.5m
    1960 5.0m
    Note the variation in the number per year. Now a plant of a successful company does not vary that much in
    production rate unless there is diversion to other products, as is likely during a war (binoculars?, gunsights?)
    numbered in another series. Or there is a cessation of materials or labour, which can also happen in war.
    These will have affected things in say 1916 to 1918 but it does seem likely that the numbers used in 1913
    are a "funny" and one feels they include some for 1914 as well. Also note that there are gaps between the
    "Years lens" numbers, as for No252,739 in 1914 end and No282,800 for 1915 begin, where 30,061 numbers
    are "missing." The tables admit that the WW1 data is approximate and this might explain the low figure
    apparent for 1914. It seems likely that there was a carry over of numbers in some years from one year to the
    next, due to numbers being booked for a contract or sale in advance- or some such mechanism. There is a
    instinctive feeling that in 1912, the plant was actually normally making about 25,000-30,000 lenses. Now
    going backwards, it is likely that production had built up slowly as labour was trained and plant designed and
    built, and that a typical serial number for 1900 might be No40,000 (as suggested above), rather than
    No75,000 which would be the mid-point from No1000 to say No151,000 in 1910.
    After WW1, there is a rapid recovery of production, but again there are big fluctuations in the apparent yearly
    numbers produced. There are also still gaps between the blocks of numbers attributed to years. It does
    seem that production was set to rise steadily in the 1920's, even though there was a recession, and especially
    after the formation of Zeiss Ikon with the related rationalizations and a "captive" market. Thus by 1930, there
    do seem to be some 100,000 or more per year, and then in the 1930's, up to 250,000 or 300,000 numbers per
    year used. This suggests a major expansion at Jena, or just possible the use of the redundant plants of
    Goerz/Berlin and Ernemann/Dresden to support the production in some way. All this does also raise one
    point: that any maker quickly finds that while brass and glass cost money, numbers are "free" and makers
    often "waste" numbers when plans change or products are cancelled. Thus it is normal to find cases where
    lenses were never made to match numbers reserved for them. One is left with a feeling that early Zeiss
    lenses are rare and should be very desired items.
    An authentic list Carl Zeiss supplied to a friend in 1967, with the same general result, was as follows:
    150,000-200,000 around 1912
    200,000-300,000 1912-1916
    300,000-350,000 1916-1919
    350,000-500,000 1919-1923
    500,000-750,000 1923-1926
    750,000-1,000,000 1926-1929
    1,000,000-1,500,000 1929-1934
    1,500,000-2,000,000 1934-1937
    2,000,000-2,800,000 1937-1942
    After WW2, Carl Zeiss at Oberkochen began a new series of numbers, probably at No1000 or 10,000 and as
    indicated above, these were normally also marked Opton and coated. The Opton mark lasted for most
    purposes until about 1953 at No1,100,000 but was used for many more years for items sold in the Comecon
    countries- which will cause confusion if it is not realized. More data than this is in P-H Pont's "Chiffres Cles".

    (b) CZJ =Carl Zeiss, Jena Postwar.
    1945-1949 3.0-3.2 million. Initially these were calibrated with the focal length in centimeters.
    1949-1952 3.2-3.47 million
    1952-1955 347,000-4.0 million From here focal lengths were given in millimeters.
    1955-1958 4.0-5.0 million
    1958-1961 5.0-6.0 million
    1961-1964 6.0-6.7 million
    1964-1967 7.0-8.0 million
    1967-1970 8.0-9.0 million
    1970-1975 9.0-10.0 million.
    (c) Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen, West Germany.
    1946-1951 10,000-500,000 These will be engraved Zeiss Opton.
    1951-1953 500,000-1,100,000 same
    1953-1959 1,100,000-2,600,000 Now just Carl Zeiss except for Comecon sales.
    1959-1961 2,600,000-3,000,000
    1961-1965 3,000,000-4,000,000
    1965-1969 4,000,000-5,000,000
    1969-1971 5,000,000-6,000,000
    1971-1975 6,000,000-7.300,000.
     
  6. If you go to the Carl Zeiss web page and send them an email with the serial number of the lens, they will look it up for you and tell you exactly the month and year the lens was manufactured.
     
  7. Thanks for the answer, Dan. They was very useful.

    What are the Serial Number after 1975?

    does you Knonw Other Books as Lens Collector's Vade Mecum?

    Bye
     
  8. Carlos Alberte, I'm sorry but I don't know of a published source for Zeiss lenses' chronology after 1975. What you want may have been published by the Zeiss Historica Society. May have, but since I don't belong to ZHS I don't know. One of my neighbors is a member of ZHS' ruling junta, so if I wanted to know I'd just ask him. HE has a list he's compiled. Go to http://www.zeisshistorica.org/ to find out about joining.

    There is nothing like the Vade Mecum. Andrew Glover, who sells on eBay as dagor77, tells me that much of the Vade Mecum's contents were lifted from Hans Martin Brandt's book The Photographic Lens. I have a copy of it, and I don't agree with Andrew. Diagrams in the VM may have been copied from Brandt, but not text. What makes the Vade Mecum more useful than other books filled with diagrams of lenses is that it passes judgement (right or wrong I can't say) on how well lenses' perform.

    Regards,

    Dan
     
  9. I will buy the Lens Collector's Vade Mecum. In this Shop i found a reference http://www.mwclassic.com/acatalog/MW_Classic_Cameras_VADEMECUM_CD_ROM_79.html
    this is the book?

    Regards

    Carlos
     
  10. Carlos, that is indeed the book. Just make sure you get version 3 (2001) or newer.

    BTW, I checked your lenses in a 1910 book - and the Series Ic should be an f:3.5 "schnellarbeiter", not a Tessar...
     
  11. I've got a Carl Zeiss Jena camera Compur-Rapid, NR.2315362 - and the serial number stamped on the film door is G47223, the lens is marked Tessar 1:3.5 f=7.5cm...
    Any idea of the age or value? It's in excellent condition, been in my family for many years...
    filmbaron@gmail.com
    00WwIA-263429584.JPG
     
  12. HI DAN;
    my namy is JOHN VIGORITO, i am a member of the NEW YORK CITY FIRE DEPT,, i recently was at a fire in Brooklyn where i cam across a pair of Carl Zeiss binoculars,, they were in fair condition after i took them back to the firhouse and cleaned them up, i was hopeing if i gave you the serial numbers and writings you can tell me the age,, and perhaps how much these things are worth,,, i really like them they seem to be of military issue,, i thank you in advance for any and all help that you may be able to provide,, the information is as follows;;
    CARL ZEISS JENA
    NR.23889
    FORNGLAS 08
    THATS ABOUT ALL THE INFORMATION THAT IS VISIBLE ON THE BINOCULAR
    once againg thank you for your help also if you have no idea what i am talking about, maybe you can point me in the right direction,,, thanks
    JOHN VIGORITO--FDNY
     
  13. HI DAN;
    my namy is JOHN VIGORITO, i am a member of the NEW YORK CITY FIRE DEPT,, i recently was at a fire in Brooklyn where i cam across a pair of Carl Zeiss binoculars,, they were in fair condition after i took them back to the firhouse and cleaned them up, i was hopeing if i gave you the serial numbers and writings you can tell me the age,, and perhaps how much these things are worth,,, i really like them they seem to be of military issue,, i thank you in advance for any and all help that you may be able to provide,, the information is as follows;;
    CARL ZEISS JENA
    NR.23889
    FORNGLAS 08
    THATS ABOUT ALL THE INFORMATION THAT IS VISIBLE ON THE BINOCULAR
    once againg thank you for your help also if you have no idea what i am talking about, maybe you can point me in the right direction,,, thanks
    JOHN VIGORITO--FDNY
     

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