One would hope that they retain some records on their previous models. Or at least who has them now, and how to contact. I suppose if you knew where to look, one could delve through Plaubels tax records. . . Interesting that most of the other serials seem to have two letter prefixes, yet mine just the one. Possibly K, H, OB, and OK refer to different markets they were produced for? Single letter for domestic, double for export or vice versa?
Are you completely positive there is no "O" in front of the serial? Have you tried scratching a bit with the nail or fingertip in case it is hidden or almost invisible?
I don't think different letters were assigned to different markets: one of my IIIR is marked in meters, while the other is marked in feet, and both share the same serial structure...
The reported IIS serial number starts with one single "H", too. I'm waiting for the serial of the IIS from another colleague that should confirm if it may be a typo or it is common to this particular version.
Could it be possible for you to upload a bigger image of your camera?
Checked, no "O".
There is the possibility the thing with your IIRs is the feet marking was an aftermarket addition - just as what appears to be a very professional job with the sync addition to mine.
Another theory would be the letters refer to slight variations within the model (e.g parts from different suppliers?) Or different "Supervisors" or Plant managers in charge of the various production runs? Somewhere there will be a record, it would be quite nice to find out some more information about the background of the company - Wonder if there's a German equivalent of Companies House that would have the records.
I'll dig the digicam out and get some larger images later tomorrow.
Well, I don't have the original receipt, but I bought it in the US, so I don't know. The simplest explanation to me is that it left the factory that way, I have not seen references to spare distance scales on Plaubel's contemporary catalogs where all accessories, including filters, focal plane shutter, etc. are listed. But, with no definite proofs we cannot be completely sure... It seems that there were adaptors intended for use with the focal plane shutter, but I have never seen one of those, and are described as kind of "clip-on" accessories. Scales are screwed, not that they are difficult to remove but I don't see them as user-replaceable parts, at least not like a focusing screen or a viewfinder mask. Distance scales for the wide angle are not interchangeable between a Makina III and a Makina IIIR - they are of different size, at least on the ones I have handled.
I will ask some German colleagues to see if they can point me to the right direction, and maybe even do a call or two on our behalf - my German is a bit rusty to say the least... Again IIRC Plaubel's owner sold it because none of his descendants actually wanted to keep on with the business. I will see if I can identify and get in touch with any of them again with the help of some friends, we'll see if they are willing to have an interview or answer a couple of questions at least, if there are any remains of their ancestor's state...
Attachment 72393Hopefully this should be a decent size.
Emailed R J Lam of www.luxcamera.co.uk - He's got an early Makina I, 2 IIIRs and interestingly a fixed lens III. Hopefully I'll hear back shortly about their serials. Though apparently the I has no serial and dates from 1929 (according to the person he bought it from).
Still waiting on the film back winging it's way from Germany. . . DHL website still not updating the tracking info, still not on their system apparently. . . Once it comes, think it'll be time to populate this thread with some images from it :)
Another thought about the scale in feet on one of your IIIRs could be that it was done by the importer under licence from Plaubel, or as you said done in the factory for export and that's why the scales are not in any public catalogue. . .
Looks nicely kept, a good example. Did it took you long to find it ? Or was just a casual finding ?
I also got in touch with RJ and got a similar answer. I am starting to believe in the same you have found, that Plaubels older than the Makina II had no body serial number. Hopefully RJ will be able to thoroughly check his cameras and locate it if in another position, or not find it at all which could hint this no-serial theory.
It's odd that some people rejects to share their serials on the grounds that they can be misused e.g. on eBay. Such has been the case of Mr. Jani Heikkinen, which declined to provide data about his Makina III even after linking this thread which would allow "misusing" with or without his single number... Pity, but perfectly respectable! Luckily there are other, friendlier owners and sellers which are participating.
To try to have increased visibility, and a more ordered way to present the data, I have created a little "table" at the discussion page on the Makina article from camera-wiki:
A local friend has shared the serial of his chromed IIS with me: 1H476. It is actually the first one we find starting on "1", so it may seem that for other serials, the first character is a zero and not a capital 'o'. But, based on the data collected so far, looks intriguingly different...
As for the export models, I can't say for sure. In my experience with folders, I don't think so. Distances in feet are common in the UK for example, so there are Agfa's with distances in feet and the same cameras branded as Ansco - Agfa's importer on the US - also in feet. It could be that batches were made taking into account its destination. Who knows ! Maybe the actual Plaubel, if they keep something from the last century...
I've been looking on and off for a while, but this was a rather casual find. Still waiting on the roll film back from Germany via DHL - still no tracking information (and I thought Royal Mail were bad. . . ) Due to arrive today however is are a couple of rolls of Rollie IR film, so once the back makes an appearance, I'll be able to put to bed the query about using IR film in mine. Trying to trace down some other odds and ends - watching a Makina for repairs in the US, hope to pick that up fairly cheaply.
Film back arrived today :) Attachment 72540 Typically the weather has turned to grey wet and horrible, but hope to put a couple of films through it and see how they stand up. Then once I've got the hang of it, I'll give it a go with IR film.
Slowly making a little progress with the Makina II - It really feels so SLOW to work with, missed a few shots because of that :( Though I am getting more used to it, the main problem still is the vertical misalignment in the rangefinder. . .
On a second note I've now got a copy of "Das Buch Der Makina" and slowly making my way through attempting to translate it.