Monday, 14 August 2017

The Book Review-pure fiction + coffee developer!

In the few moments I get left over after reading and re-reading  'Snow Canvas' , 'My Leica and I' ,and 'Living Leica'  (1956 edition,  of course)  few other books or subjects attract my attention.

However, one that did arrive , via Amazon, is a detective mystery.The title is 'The Dead in their Vaulted Arches'

I have found that I only enjoy this type of book when I am able to read most of a series with the same characters such  the Bryant and May series  by Christopher Fowler, The Powerscourt series of David Dickinson,  Edward Marston on Railways and the unique series of Martin Beck books which when read in order and arranged by the spine will spell Martin Beck!

If I still have your attention I shall introduce the latest in the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley (pub. Orion 2014). Again, a series is involved and number 6 has proved to be of interest to me as a darkroom worker. In short this is the adventure of the younger daughter of an impoverished Colonel with a country house left to decay on the death of his wife, the owner, in 1939. Her body is recovered just post war and his daughter is astounded to be picked out as her true successor by Sir Winston Churchill as the body arrives home.The heroine is found to have inherited all the amazing intellectual ability of her Mother.  In the course of the adventures of this patriotic family the young lady discovers her mother's last home movie undeveloped and manages to develop it using strong coffee and reversal chemicals, all described in detail,  together with the manufacture if a safelight and a reel! Needless to say the film is a key to the solution of many things.

All very' Ripping Yarn' stuff and by no means the end of the series, which continues, but readable as a stand alone book or preferably after the minor characters are introduced by earlier books. Given the Boy's Own storyline I found the presence of points 'For Discussion' and an interview with the Author, at the end, just a little strange unless I have got hold of a School Edition-I think not.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Don't forget the Valoy 11......

When the time came to discontinue the Valoy 11 it was called the finest manual enlarger available and Leica fans were scouring  dealers to snap up the last few in stock. The last of the line is a superb machine and those still available illustrate the hard wearing properties of the machine which still looks very modern (as enlargers go!) especially in gray/blue finish. What more could a black and white worker ask for? Just add a Focotar 2 ( or large element "1.5") and off we go!

(Canadian issue of leaflet-17-3c)

A enlarger guidebook- v35 oddity in print

One of the rarer publications concerning the v35 Focomat  is the colour booklet shown below.This runs to 96 colour pages all in cartoon format which relates the story of purchase and colour printing by a v35 using a young couple as examples. Given the price of the machine it was probable that the average age of a purchaser in UK was about the same as some Honda cars of the time -which was revealed as  not young

In true Enid Blyton manner the young people are provided with a Mentor, Uncle John,an Airline Pilot, who is an expert colour printer. This rather strange book carries the Leitz trade mark and the usual serial numbering as a Leitz issue publication , it would be interesting to learn how it came to be authorised.  Get one now-if any more have survived!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Leitz Literature and Design-

Three Leitz publications came my way a few days ago and it was interesting to note the evolution in design that they illustrate.  It goes without saying that those likely to be reading this will be well aware that there has been only one basic change in the design of Leica direct viewing cameras since the 1920's which was the arrival of the M3 in the 1950's and the change to bayonet lens mounts.

The design of enlargers  was equally timeless and I could go back to well pre war days to,  more or less,  match the illustrations of the Focomat enlargers shown.  These underwent their own screw/bayonet moment shortly after the War and then changed little until the v35 came along.I would say these leaflets cover the period 1950-1970 , approximately.

And here is one of the older leaflets in the English edition from December 1937 which shows the classic Focomat 1 which appears Blog passim on this site.