You could also take a modern lens and reverse one of the elements. The 180mm from a Mamiya TLR (I know, that's MF, not LF), if the rear element is reversed, is sharp at the center, with increasing blur towards the edges. It improves when stopped down, but is always softer along the outside. The only downside to this particular model is that it's miserable at infinity when rearranged this way.

For large format, if you were to get a copy-camera lens (cheap enough to experiment with), and rearrange it, you'd have the advantage of modern shutter and variable formula.

On the Other Other Hand, check out the book "Primitive Photography", which discusses how to make your own 19th century designs with cheap lenses and PVC pipe.