That was a great synopsis, Ole.

I'm interested in the aesthetic qualities of different designs.

A simple meniscus lens, for instance, won't have a very wide circle of good definition, so they'll look sharp in the center with the particular kind of out-of-focus qualities at the edges that can be seen in some fairly early 19th-century portraits.

Heliars from wide open to about f:8 produce a very distinctive, almost three-dimensional effect where the in-focus subject really stands out from a smooth out-of-focus background. Some Planar types, like the Voigtlander Ultron, from the 1950s have this quality as well, but not all of them (for instance, I tried a 1940s Zeiss Planar for Contax that was dreadful as far as out-of-focus rendering goes--probably overcorrected).

Dagors, because they have 6 elements for the designer to play with, are fairly well corrected (some uncorrected spherical aberration results in apparent focus shift wide open) and have a wide coverage circle, but because they are in two groups, they are fairly contrasty, even in uncoated versions. The Planar exists in 5, 6, 7, and more element versions, and is theoretically superior to the Dagor, but because it has so many glass-air surfaces (thus inherently low contrast), it didn't really come into its own until the introduction of lens coatings. Now it is one of the most common designs. Most 50mm lenses for 35mm cameras are variants of the century-old Planar.

The Goertz Celor is another design that was considerably improved with the advent of lens coatings. Originally it was a budget version of the Dagor with two elements removed and replaced by air-spaces acting as elements. The Fujinon C series is an updated, coated version of the Celor, and has been seen as a real success.