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  1. #1

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    Saltzman enlargers

    I'm curious about these massive, giant things. I'm not able to find much about them online. I remember seeing a picture of A. Aubrey Bodine in his darkroom with one of these. Clyde Butcher also has a few, and I once saw an interview with him in which (I think) he said a Saltzman enlarger could cost up to $30,000 in the 1930's (!?), and weigh well over a thousand pounds (!). What is the deal with these beasts? Who used them at the time? Were they primarily for military use or what? Even for large format or ULF negatives, they seem enourmous. Aside from the obvious size and ultra heavy duty construction, they appear to incorporate multiple-axis tilt capability at the negative stage, lens stage, and even the baseboard.

    Michael

  2. #2

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    See: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/...altzman_1.html for a 1961 catalogue with price list. (I was a bit surprised to see they were still being made in the early 1960's.) As you will see they made a lot of models; and from 4 X 5 to 8 X10. Prices for the 8 X 10's range all the way from a bit over $2k up to $17K plus. Some years ago in connection with a workshop I saw Morley Baer's dark room. He had an 8 X 10 Saltzman. I remember thinking the negative carrier alone looked like it would have been made by a tool and die maker using a Pratt & Whitney jig bore machine.

    Also I know an old guy who worked in photo-reconnaissance in the Army Air Force in WWII. He said they used a Saltzman enlarger.
    David

  3. #3
    rmolson's Avatar
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    satlzmzn enlargers

    I am an old guy who was in the Navy and we used some saltman enlargers on some land bases Too big for ship board.
    Last edited by rmolson; 09-21-2010 at 06:29 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling

  4. #4
    fotch's Avatar
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    Very impressive machine
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  5. #5

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    With the massive contruction, and all the precision tilt/shift adjustments, they were obviously made for serious work. I still find them baffling though, expecially from a cost perspective. At prices and sizes like that, it seems unlikely anyone other than government agencies and maybe a handful of serious photographers would have been able to afford, or accomodate them. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing even the most snobby amateur enthusiast would have been able to buy. Also given these things were being made in the 30s and 40s, when the notion of fine art photgraphic prints was still pretty new, it's hard to imagine how even a well respected printer could justify such an expense. Edward Weston surely wouldn't have been able to buy one of these. So I'm assuming they were mostly used for applications other than fine art enlargements. I might be totally wrong though.

  6. #6
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    You have to understand that many large companies had their own in-house photography departments and had plenty of cash to buy what would be considered an investment.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

    Did millions of people suddenly disappear? This may have an answer.

    "No one knows that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." -Matthew 24:36

  7. #7
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    government agencies and maybe a handful of serious photographers
    You are leaving out: portrait studios; publicity; advertising photography; hospitals, industrial firms; large institutions; aerial survey, etc. And, of course, commercial photography laboratories.

    Look at the list prices at Durst USA for a comparison.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

  8. #8
    fotch's Avatar
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    Yes, strictly commercial machine. Heavy duty, precision, not needed by local portrait, wedding, news photographer labs.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  9. #9

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    and i thought my beseler 23c was heavy duty, haha! Now, i wonder how hard it would be to get one of these (i'm going to assume very hard).

  10. #10

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    Yeah I thought my new Saunders 4550 was strong, but these Saltzman things are ridiculous. In the event of an earthquake or tornado, you could probably just sit on the baseboard while the rest of the house falls down.

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