View Full Version : Mystery early Linhof or Kern like camera

10-05-2007, 09:06 PM
The camera that I recently acquired is similar to an early pre-war Linhof in that it has a die-cast and machined aluminum body with leather panel inserts, a dovetail machined extension bed, geared rise, and exquisitly precise machining. It has a Steinheil Orthostigmat lens in a dial-set Compur shutter (mfg. 1912 to 1929). It differs from a Linhof in that the front lens tilts at the base using a lovely cylindrical rotating slide mechanism (kinda like a Sinar P), has a drop bed, but uses dovetail slides on the bed rather than indexed hinges, and has an (American) Kalart rangefinder. The front standard slides horizontally. The format is 9cm by 12cm and uses thin film holders, perhaps similar to the old Linhof single-sheet holders (I don't have a holder). There are no identifying marks on the camera except the name Dr. Eug. Weiss (former owner?) engraved on the bed. It looks like there is a piece missing that was mounted above the tripod screw in the bed that may have contained a small circular name plate. Any ideas of what it is? One person who responded to my posting in photo.net classic camera forum thought that it might be a Kern of Aarau Switzerland and a posting in classic-camera.com brought a similar response. However,
The Wild Corporation in Switzerland has a site for dating old Kern survy instruments at http://www.surveyhistory.org/how_old_is_my_kern_&_co_.htm. An inquirery about my camera brought the following response from Jeurg Dedual ("Juerg Dedual" <j.dedual@gmail.com>):

Hello Glenn,
I am not sure if this is really a Kern camera … I guess not !

I know Kern made at least four different camera types and also projector.
The types where called:
Rollka / Simplo
Projection Apparatus

I do have a the Kern Precision camera in my collection and this one looks different, but also has the Compur shutter.
„Kern Plattenkamera 9x12 mit Kern lens 6.3/135 in, Compur shutter“ Verschluss, Mattscheiben Rückteil, Metallgehäuse, Objektiv höhenverstellbar, dabei Ledertasche

The Bijou and the Sport look similar to the Precision and yours seems not be made from Kern, The brackets look different

Best regards

Unfortunately, I still do not know what camera I have! Any guesses?:confused:

Will S
10-05-2007, 10:11 PM
This camera looks suspiciously in some ways like my Meridian 45B. It's almost like it is an earlier version. Of course, the designers of that camera were (I think) brought over from Europe (Germany?) after WWII. Maybe there is a connection? Probably just a bad guess though.



10-07-2007, 09:08 PM
Thanks Will. I think that from the lens and shutter and the film holder that it takes (probably like or identical to early Linhof), that the camera probably dates to the late 20's. Probably both Kern and later, Meridian were heavily influenced by the Linhof design as was this camera; whatever it is. So, the Linhof influence would, I think, be the connection between this camera and Meridian.