...Wollensak Optical Co., Rochester, N.Y., USA.
Staley, Shew and Co., 88, Newman St, London, UK.
Demaria-Lapierre, 169, Quai de Valmy, Paris, France.
R. Konishi, 2 Nichome Tokio, Japan.
United Photo Stores Ltd, Montreal, etc., Canada.
The company was founded in 1899 by Andrew Wollensak, and at times seems almost more important as shutter makers than as lens makers, and this was the original purpose, and which is reflected in the products imported into the UK, where the lenses are relatively uncommon and where shutters may have been easier to sell. Little in the way of catalogues and lists have been available and the following will be only a rather random beginning to a list of their products.
They did advertise in B.J.A. 1921, p777, mentioning Velostigmats, Verito, and f3.8 Vitax and the Optimo shutter, and offering lenses in 3.5-26in (88mm to 660mm): next year it was just Betax, Gammax, Deltax shutters for Xact Xposure (sic).
Incidentally, in the USA it seems to be well known that Wollensak supplied all or most of the Graphlex Optars on Graphic type cameras up to about 1965, and these were mainly either f4.5 Raptar or f6.8 wide angle Raptar, normally with stops to f22 and fitted in Wollensak Rapax shutters. This was one class of lens which did come to the UK on cameras for the Press after WW2. (Incidentally the Lend-Lease items were mainly destroyed after the War and were not available to the public.) Wollensak became part of Revere Camera Co. (MCM 9/1953) and the Fastax high speed movie camera for up to 8,000 or even 20,000fps was an interest. They were used with Wollensak f2.0 lenses such as f2.0/35mm, 50mm f2 Fastax and 50mm f2 Raptar, (B.J.A. 1960, p241). Wollensak became part of Revere in 1953, and 3M Corp in 1960, and ceased trading in 1972.
Lenses were manufactured from 1902, and the Rochester Lens Co was incorporated in 1905. A BJA advert in 1916 listed Velostigmat, Verito, Vitax and Vesta. Arguably the most valued product are those for Leitz N.Y. while it was sequestered, and possibly portrait lenses such as Verito. The Verito was the only USA lens mentioned in Frerk's lens list in 1926- due to exchange rates, few foreign lenses were selling in Germany, but he thought it worth a listing all the same.
One name from the past is Mr Dawes who spoke to the New England Photographers Association about the darkening of lenses and suggested this was due to changes in the balsam- the B.J.P. 01/11/1918 cited 03/11/1978 p970 questioned this preferrring the idea the glass itself darkened. He also discussed the Patzval lens and the bold 'standing out effect' it gives which he attributed to the curved field it had. Here the BJP author also disagreed, and suggested it was due to the large apertures in use with the Petzval. In retrospect, it seems that Mr Dawes had a good deal on his side of the argument. But his position in Wollensak is not indicated.
Velostigmat was an older trade name used for many years but apparently phased out in the 1940's and replaced by Raptar, as some of the M39x26 lenses were of each type. Velostigmat in one list was made as f6.8, f7.7, f6.3, f4.5, in several designs including Dialyt, Q15, and Gauss. They are listed here rather as found. Velostigmat Series 1 f6.3 3.5-16in This may well be as above, now noted with a Series number. Here it was given as a symmetrical anastigmat 3+3 or 2+2+2+2 type, and it was suggested to use 12.5in for 10x8in. Another list gives 51-306mm.
Velostigmat f6.3 This was about 43mm? (probably 40mm) in 3-speed everset shutter. It was the lens in the Ansco Memo from 1927 for 18x24mm and was made to about 1932. A 'review' in MCM 08/1944 of a nice example was very favourable saying 'lens of excellent quality' and that the camera ceased production due to the competition of cameras with the 24x36mm format. The "Memo" trade name was reused in 1939 on a Karat size camera.
Velostigmat Series 11 f4.5 3.5-15.5in Longer types of 9.5, 12, 15.5in can have a diffusion device.This was flat field and non-separable and was probably a Q15 type as above. It was suggested to use 12in for 10x8in. It was seen at No298,63x, not coated and probably from the late 1930's. Another list gives 50, then 90-306mm.
Velostigmat Series 111 f9.5
Velostigmat Series 1V f6.3
Velostigmat Series V f7.5
Cine Velostigmat f1.5,
f16 for 80° This seems to be part of the series noted above for the RR. f16 for 80°.
This was not dated, it was listed as a 150mm for 11x14in.
This was made in 4.3-9.0in.
for 60° in 3.5-12in.
3.5-13in This was an anastigmat and possibly a Triplet. 25,50mm;
12mm; 12, 25mm;
f3.5, 12, 25mm; A 1in (25mm) was noted on a Victor Animatograph in B.J.A. 1928, p744, and an RCA Sound camera in a 1937 advert.
Cine Velostigmat f5 This was noted on a Ellison 35mm camera at No240,25x and may be an earlier product.
Cine Telephoto's Velostigmat for cine
f3.5, f4.5 These were made in 1-6in.
f2.8 35mm This was noted in a 3 tab bayonet, possibly ex-Defense.
Fig 031 021 Wollensak Velostigmat f2.8/35mm No276756 for movie use, camera unknown.
Rapter Series 1a
Raptar Series 11
Rilex 6x9cm camera ex Riley Research No56x, c.1948. Raptar was used for some of the M39x26 90mm lenses.
Raptar Series 111a f12.5 3.5-6.25in to cover 90°. This could be to the original Anastigmat type design. The date is not known. It was noted as a 4.25in lens.
Raptar Series 1V f6.3
Velostigmat Series 1V f6.3 This was an anastigmat lens, which replaced the Vinco above.
Process Lenses Raptar Process This was a dialyt type This may be App078 which is a Wollensak process lens, of unspecified type.
Apo Raptar f10 It was a 13in version which was noted.