Who was there before SK Grimes?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mejiro, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. mejiro

    mejiro Member

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    Before we had SK Grimes to do our machining for us, who did the sort of work they do? Did every city have a camera repair shop that could, say, fit lens cells to a new shutter?

    Along the same lines, what do those of you outside the US do for custom work?

    (I've had SK Grimes do some work for me; they did it well, and at a good price, so this is in no way intended as a criticism.)
     
  2. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    I doubt there was really any demand for this kind of work. The fascination with making photos using crumbly old lenses is fairly recent.

     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    There was Marty Forscher in NYC.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    And before Forscher, Burke and James did things like mounting lenses in shutters and coating uncoated lenses.
     
  5. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Sorry..I failed History, Geography and Social Studies. Wish I could help but...
     
  6. onestopdown

    onestopdown Member

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    Rudy Lingg in Los Angeles
     
  7. Ted Harris

    Ted Harris Subscriber

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    Yup, Marty Forscher and that takes you back to the 1950's. Remember too that Steve Grimes was at it for some 30+ years before his untimely death.

    Finally, there were many machinists tht couldand would do that sort of work if you go back 25 or more years. I have a friend who is a Tool & Die maker, once there were many of them too, who could easily do the sort of machining I needed bu the closed his shop ten years ago.
     
  8. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Since the dawn of photography, there has always been someone doing this type of work, I think Grimes may have been the first that understood the idea of good marketing, but certain people and companies have always been able to modify things to fit the requirements of the buying public.

    Dave
     
  9. Steve_7x

    Steve_7x Subscriber

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    Jim Galvin had done this kind of work for quite some time before he passed on. Even designed and made the Galvin View Camera. He worked magic with his lathe and tiny machine shop.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Here in the UK SRB have been around for quite a while http://www.srbfilm.co.uk/

    They specialise in adaptors etc, and will manufacture to order, the market for adapting lenses to shutters etc is far smaller here.

    There is the company in Balham (London) - can't rember the co name off hand - who will repolish & coat lenses and of course Camera Bellows, founded 1895) is still going in Birmingham, manufacturing new and replacement bellows. They do know what they are doing making over a million sets over a 20 yr period (mid 30s-50's) for Kodak and othe mnaufacturers.

    And if you're prepared to pay exorbitant prices there's other companies who will do the work, had a quote to repolish my 151mm Ross (AM - UK WWII Air Ministry) WA, an unlicensed Protar design and was shocked to be told over £500, approx $850.

    On top of that there are plenty of camera repaires who learnt the ropes on large fomat shutters and early 35mm and roll film cameras, I certainly know of one or two in the UK who while now retired from full time work just love fixing older equipment.

    Ian
     
  11. mejiro

    mejiro Member

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    That's what I suspected. I've wondered why the older photography books I've looked at don't even mention the kinds of work SKG do. I imagine it was just taken for granted that one could easily find a machine shop to do customization of this sort.
     
  12. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Before WW2, materials were generally expensive and labor was cheap. And photo gear was immensely expensive.

    So, when you had a perfectly good lens and you could afford a shutter,
    a skilled machinist could mount it for you. Or, when the early shutter was on it's last legs and an Ilex was available, you went to the machinist. OR, when you had a Leica and wanted a longer lens, it was often cheaper to have a 135 Tessar adapted from a press camera than to buy the Hektor. There were good machinists in most cities.

    Steve carried on a great tradition. He was a brilliant mechanic and could make a Leica or Hasselblad sing, but loved solving problems and the unusual needs of view camera shooters in New England gave him plenty of scope. Replacing brass and aluminum with synthetics was a big achievement, and made it possible to do work economically. It was a great day when he brought home that lathe from the American Optical auction...
     
  13. DBP

    DBP Member

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    One thing you will immediately notice if you read photo magazines from before the 1960s is how much of the magazine is devoted to do-it-yourself projects (e.g. film sheath adapters, tripods), especially during and before World War Two.
     
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  15. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Ed Romney

    Changing the scope of this thread a bit can anyone comment on this ebay ad.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2974760019&rd=1&sspagename=STRK:MEWA:IT&rd=1

    http://tinyurl.com/fbr25


     
  16. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Not in public.
     
  17. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    The manufacturer.
     
  18. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    In Salt Lake in the eighties there was an man named Jack David. I believe thats the name I remember. You could bring anything photographic to him for repair. His shop was like a watchmakers, only full of camera stuff. If your camera needed a part he probably had it, and if he didn't, he would make it.

    He overhauled a CP16 movie camera for me, made new belts for it, CLA'd everything, and got it running smoothly, for like $90.

    The disposable, plastic, world is a poorer place for not having more of these type of craftspeople today.
     
  19. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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  20. DeanC

    DeanC Member

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    Speaking of this, who would folks go to to have a lens coated or re-coated today?

    Dean
     
  21. Andrey Donchev

    Andrey Donchev Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2006
  22. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

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    One addition to Andy's list is Thin Film Coatings . Like Andy, I have no experience or prior dealings with these folks. They're just a link from a list of resources I keep.
     
  23. argus

    argus Member

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    Befor SK Grimes, those lenses and shutters were new :smile:

    G
     
  24. DeanC

    DeanC Member

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    Great, thanks!
     
  25. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    Hmmm, it appears I got it backwards. Should i cook my crow or eat it raw?

     
  26. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    More importantly, rojo or verde ?

    Set the table for two, I'd be happy to share