The Special was indeed the bargain version of the Crown Graphic.

Twenty bucks, not all that long ago, was a lot of money.

And, not that long ago, Schneider was not the 'super premium' brand it is today. It always made good stuff, and the Xenar is fine, but the best glass was made in Rochester and it was expensive, whether it said Optar, Raptar, or Ektar.

When the 4x5 market was slowing, and costs had to be cut, lensmaking was shipped offshore, from Rochester to Germany, to Schneider and Rodenstock. Like many things, perception shapes our performance. I've seen folks literally throw out a mint Ektar and pay a premium for a Xenar... just out of ignorance.

Anybody out there know how Joseph Schneider became a lensmaker ?