Petzval Daguerrotype lens information

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by vaantique, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. I recently discovered a chamfered box Daguerrotype camera with the original Voigtlander lens (number 439) that had all of the optical elements removed. Knowing the value and importance of the camera and the lens, I have been searching high and low for anything about the design and construction of the lens and have not been able to find any information about it. If anyone knows of someone that could help repair this lens or were to find the information on what the elements are I would love to have the information.
  2. There is a rundown of the early lenses in the Lens Vademecum with some sketchy serial number info. From that, it would appear that you have the barrel for a Petzval type lens, which seems to be (if I read it correctly) the first type of photographic lens produced by Voigtlander.

    Also according to the Lens Vade, the front element would be unscrewed so that a stop could be inserted in the early lenses. So if you have no provision for an aperture on yours (slot or whatnot) then that's probably how it was rigged.

    Hope this helps.
  3. I have an unnamed Petzval which takes washer stops internally - however there is a receptacle for the stops, accessed from the rear. Many early lenses did not have this facility, and unless there's something in the barrel to take the stops, I think they'd be external on the front, possibly as part of a brass cap arrangement.<br>
    (Worth noting that some early photographers did not use diaphragms at all)<p>

    This comes from Snellings "History and Practice of the Art of Photography", a chapter on Daguerrotype apparatus:<p>

    "A variety of movable diaphrams or caps, to cover the aperture in front, are very useful, as the intensity of the light may be modified by them and more or less distinctness and clearness of delineation obtained. These caps alway come with Voitlander instruments and should be secured by the purchaser."

    More at
    Incidentally, I thought that Voigtlander supplied camera lenses before they became involved with Petzval, although it certainly was the Petzval design which made their reputation and their money.
  4. You have the "hard part" which is an original camera box. Finding a suitable contemporary
    lens is the "easy" part, relatively speaking. There are more surviving lenses than there are
    camera boxes from that period, and even a slightly later lens will still be fairly authentic
    and look good, and work on that camera box. I seriously doubt you will find glass
    elements to fit your lens tube, but you can find almost identical looking Petzval formula
    lenses that would look good mounted to your camera box.

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