View Full Version : Edison lens

05-01-2009, 09:03 AM
I have a lens that I've used infrequently and I've just put it on a 5x7 studio camera to try some portraits. It has, very faintly printed, on its side, "Edison Manufacturing, Orange, NJ" and then, lower, Bausch and Lomb. The only thing listed in the Vade Mecum is this:

"Edison" A brass and nickel projection Petzval type lens highlights the relation of Bausch & Lomb and the
Edison Manufacturing Co, for whom this is a No1 type lens. It is probably about 3.5-4.0in."

The brass and nickel projection part is right. Only problem is that this lens focuses on infinity at about 325mm and measures an f9 or 10 (WAG measuring system at work here.) My other Petzval lenses are quite rapid, more like f3.8

Any ideas?

05-03-2009, 01:48 AM
325mm? That doesn't sound like a lens for a movie projector. I wonder what Edison invention that one was for.

05-03-2009, 02:29 AM
Probably a Projecting Kinetoscope. Like this one: http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits/pic/1999/kinet2big.jpg

05-03-2009, 08:36 AM
Probably a Projecting Kinetoscope. Like this one: http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits/pic/1999/kinet2big.jpg

I've looked at all of the images I can find of the Kinetoscope, but never found a lens on one that looked like the one I have, which is, without posting a picture now since the lens is at school and I'm home, a pretty standard looking brass and nickel lens from the late 19th century. It doesn't have a slot for waterhouse stops, has a built in extension/shade on it's front end and is adjustable by means of a sliding collar and tangent drive. I bought it at a PHSNE auction a couple of years ago. I've attached one of the first 8x10 images I took last year with it. The picture made me want to try the lens for portraits, but I haven't gotten around to it.

The lens measures 105mm by 59.4 mm.

05-09-2009, 12:40 AM
Does it look like this? This was a magic lantern lens I had for a while. 14 inch. I've found the lantern or projector lenses came in all sizes, and I've seen several with Edison written on them.

06-04-2010, 09:56 AM
mine is a real petzval:


adapted to a digital rebel (God forgive me, for using "digital" as a word):


portrait set-up example:


06-04-2010, 10:05 AM
Nice adaptation. I get mine onto my EOS bodies using an EOS/FD adapter ring and an FD bellows.


06-04-2010, 12:57 PM
well, now that you mentioned ring adaptations... I only use canon for this kind of experiments... I prefer to leave my nikon line alone...

for example this selective focus pict:


is not made with a petzval, as one may expect, but with a medium format lens disposed into this outrageously simple rings setting:


I rarely use bellows in 35mm format, except for macro... I prefer large format for bellows, given the significantly greater circle covered by optics.



oh well, I guess I am totally out of our league with the last post... it has nothing to do with the subject anymore (most likely nothing to do with APUG!)

12-30-2010, 12:58 PM

Am also interested in finding an old Edison lens similar to one found here :


Does anyone have specifications on what lenses were used on Edison's
projecting kinetoscopes? Who made lenses for Edison?

Also would be interested in finding condenser lenses for lamphouse.

Thanks in advance from Greg in NE.

01-01-2011, 10:17 AM
Who made lenses for Edison?

Hi Greg,
I have to admit it was a bit of a surprise, seeing one of my old posts resurrected this morning, and while I can't answer many of your questions with any finality, I can say that Bausch and Lomb did make lenses for Edison, as seen above in Goamule's post and in my own experience. I have taken a number of pictures now with that Edison lens (not scanned) and I like the "feel" of it. It is physically similar to the one pictured on the Kinetoscope, but then, so are most magic lantern lenses from that period. I found mine by dumb luck. Good luck in your own search and happy new year!

01-05-2011, 12:19 AM
Thanks for your reply. It's good to meet some folks with similar interests in
analog photography, silent films, etc.

Turned in my Kodachrome slide film last week (the final day of processing) to
Dwayne's; am looking forward to seeing the results.

Re lens for the PK, if I could determine the dimensions of the original lens (which
as walked away) I could start looking for a replacement. If any of you have had
experience with silent film projectors, I'd like to hear from you.

Regards from an analog guy living in a digital world. <g> Greg

04-21-2014, 08:41 AM
I have 2 of them, one is for projection of glass slides and the other was for 35mm motion, silent.
Yes, 35 mm was format for early black and white silent.

04-21-2014, 08:46 AM
I have two of them. ONe is for projection of the glass slides for the still shows.
The other is for projection of the 35mm movie film, B&W silent.
Yes, 35mm was the format for early silent films.
Hope this helps. Can post pics if anyone is interested and might sell.

04-21-2014, 08:48 AM
I don't do much 35mm. Got hung up on my 127 Rollie and use that mostly. Found some Efke film. Nice.