Historian Needs Help ID Large Format Wollensak Betax #5
I am a 19th and early 20th century historian who, in the process of doing some work, came across what appears to be a disassembled large format copy stand camera from either the 20s or 30s. I have tried to do some research and have some idea of the bits and pieces of what I am looking at. However, since my background isnt in photography I am hoping someone can give me the bigger picture (ouch.. no pun intended). I want to clean up the pieces (they have dust and some mold) and see what it might take to restore it. I also am not sure if we have all the pieces. This isnt for personal or private use.. .simply for my academic work. Any help would be greatly appreciates.
There are pictures posted below. Here are the main components..
A square 11" x 11" board with a Wollensak lens Betax No 5 (there is a number 0262 stamped on back).
A square 13" x 13" board with a glass plate and hinges (the film holder? )
A square 8.5" x 8.5" wood board with glass plate and hinges (similar to above but smaller, wood is painted grey, and it appears newer?)
A 3 tiered wood baord -- top tier with similar glass plate and clamps.. base tier is 12.5" x 12.5" .. several knobs that loosen to allow swivel of top glass plate. Stamped with "Fulmer & Schwing Division, Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester NY"-- also a small number on stamp #14468
A package containing two bellows.. written on outside is "bellows for 8x10 copy stand camera"
Thanks everyone.. greatly appreciate the help
There are certainly more knowledgable folks than I who will respond, but it looks like you have a box of misc. camera parts rather than a whole camera.
What Brian said - it almost seems that there should be another box or two with the rest of the parts.
"Wollensak Betax" is a shutter, not a lens. Take off the front cap, what does it say around the bezel?
To help identify the lens, could you take a picture of it with the lens cap off? Betax #5 is just the model and size of the shutter. The 262 is probably an identifying number for the rear element of the lens to help match it to the front element, and is not even an entire serial number.
The wooden frames with glass and brass hinges are a series of backs for studio camera(s). From the dimensions of them, I'd say they were all three from different cameras, made by different makers at different times. The gray one and the multi-tiered one with the rotating panel in the center are what's known as reducing backs because they let you use a smaller size film on a larger camera. The gray one is probably from an Ansco or a Burke & James. The one that rotates you know is a Folmer & Schwing, and you can date it fairly closely because it says Folmer & Schwing, a division of Eastman Kodak. That definitely puts it in the early 20th century, (1920's I think), as Folmer & Schwing were a separate company earlier, then got bought out by Kodak, and the name was maintained for a while, then completely absorbed. Others will know the time frame for that transition better than I.
oops.. sorry forgot to do that.. patience with the new kid..
it says.. Gundlach Mfg Co, Fairport, NY 8x10, Radar Anast. F:6.3 no. RE0262
that number.. 0262 is also on the back..
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I think some are parts from a Folmer Graflex copy camera, see
so it seems as though the bulk of the pieces were part of some graflex copy camera in the past.. which begs the question where the rest of the items (the wood track it all mounts into in particular) are.. thanks everyone for the helpful and quick response. I greatly appreciate it. any additional insight is always appreciated
Just a bunch of parts... nothing special. The glass is the ground glass where you view the image before putting the film holder underneath, that is why they are spring loaded. Nothing really jumps out here. I have a whole shelf of stuff just like this --- sort of all the extra broken bits that accumulate over the years.
What you are missing is a camera.
* Just because your eyes are closed, doesn't mean the lights in the darkroom are off. *
* When the film you put in the camera is worth more than the camera you put the film in... *
* When I started using 8x10, it amazed me how many shots were close to the car. *
Fron the pic of the rear elelmet I almost guessed that it was a Gundlach Radar. I use a 5x7 radar and if the 8x10 is as good, and it should be, that is a decent lens for general picture taking.
1890-1907 Folmer and Schwing Manufacturing Company
1907-1926 Folmer and Schwing Division Eastman Kodak
1926-1927 Folmer and Schwing Department Eastman Kodak
1927-1945 Folmer Graflex Corporation
1945-1973 Graflex Inc,
Graflex Inc. Division General Equipment Corporation
Graflex Division Singer Company
Last edited by shutterfinger; 06-12-2013 at 02:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.