Monday, 30 March 2015

Printing with the 1935 Focomat Enlarger - Coate Water Swindon

Taken on Tri-X with a Leica 111 and an uncoated Summar 50mm f2.0 lens from the mid 1930's.The original print was made last week on a 1935 Focomat enlarger using a Leica Varob lens. This is the early Nickel plated version of the basic Leitz enlarging lens of f=5cm and 1:3.5. One of two I have, this lens has been professionally cleaned, but is otherwise original. It has a 1935 serial number in the usual pre-war Leitz position on the front retaining ring, adjacent to the glass.

For those interested in the technical side I shall illustrate the lens and enlarger below.The enlargers seem to keep going for ever but can be prone to holes in the bellows- at 80 years old. However the range of movement is small and unless you are making a wide range of print sizes down to very small indeed there is little movement at all, and any small light leak may not be obvious.I have gone to some lengths to fit the original small size opal bulb. The column should be Nickel plated but has been cleaned up and then sprayed in satin black to avoid reflections.The only part that is not original is the base board which is Leitz, but a temporary fix from an early Valoy, as the original had delaminated to the extent that it was bowed upwards. It was no use trying to use the traditional masking frame locks.I have a modern Leica masking frame but these of course do not have the locking mechanism while giving the correct height for the more usual column stop height.The base of the condenser on these tend to acquire the ghost marking of an 35mm frame which I can only think is the remains of long gone film base but I have found that this can be removed with alcohol or even soapy water and will then be returned to factory freshness.

I do have an illustration of the enlarger production line in the factory by Paul Wolff but think this is still protected under Copyright. The type was made for some years until at least the end of the war when the later opening negative stage arrived via New York.