Saturday, 23 September 2017

Books you should read- even from an Ikonta user!

The short book review which follows relates to a publication of great interest to me and which would I feel interest many film camera users.

                                                         The title is-

                               'Reece Winstone   Rambles in the Darkroom'

                                By  John Winstone.ISBN0900814 73X    1994

                                Pub: Reece Winstone Archive and Publishing

The name of Reece Winstone will be familiar to many in the West of England through his collections of historic photographs of the Bristol area dating to the dawn of Photography. Now highly collectable, these cover some 200 years in about 37 volumes. In addition  publications by his family take this to 44 editions. His name appears in almost every magazine one picks up from  club reports of the 1930's onwards.

As the book makes clear Mr Winstone had a distinguished career as a freelance photographer and as a prime mover in the formation of Photographic Clubs in the Bristol  and South West area which led to  the  Western Counties Photographic Federation  of 1932, established while he was but young . At that time the line between Amateur and Professional in Club circles was, it seems. rather more relaxed than today. Throughout his life he actively promoted Photography and the preservation of the Bristol of past years which had suffered badly in the Blitz, and far, far, more up until his passing in recent years.

However, this book contains some really fine photographs of photojournalistic subjects, typical of his time, but possessing  a great attraction for the darkroom worker of today. By the way, a number of his fine prints appeared in circulating portfolios from the late 1920's - Join one today!

To me this is a far more attractive book of photographs than many which appear in full colour today, His Colour output was limited but examples are available from the Reece Winstone archive website. Get one and see for yourself. Other books available are also listed on the site which is at :-

*For a later publication of the work of Reece Winstone see my post of November 2017

More on the Focomat,European and US versions.

Among the history of the Focomat enlarger is the strange cul-de-sac styled the Focomat 1b which some might consider better styled informally the ' Focomat 1.0.1' in that it built on the basis of the last pre- war European machine while introducing the groundwork of the true Wetzlar second version.

It would appear that the revised design was brought to the market during the period that ownership of the New York Company was vested in the Alien Property Custodian which did not expire until a sale of 'stock' in  August 1952 returning the company to private ownership although not owned by Leitz family or  Leitz company interests. The firrst new owner being The Dunhill Corporation.This was not quite so simple as it seemed as more or less the same procedure had been enacted during the First War and of course the New York branch developed some products and practices of it's own while controlled by, indirectly ,the US government,including a fair copy of the Focomat.

The point of all this historical preamble is to highlight the Focomat 1b which was the subject of two whole page features in the company published magazine 'Leica Photography' of Summer 1948 (Volume 2 No 1) This is one of the the earliest of my collection of this magazine which only goes back to vol 1,No.1 from Spring 1948 which was I think the first post war issue and which appeared without any note of the nine year interruption since it's predecessor disappeared for the War. Format is much the same as the pre war editions. Production may have commenced in the US to a US modified design in 1946 (Laney) with a matching lens produced in the States.

The main features in which the 1b differs are-

The conspicuous name/number plate on one parallelogram arm,  reflected on each side at a point where some weakness might be expected from the locking mechanism.All arms appear to come from the same pattern.

The rather modern (Radio Age) design of the ends of the condenser lever and the, seemingly, superfluous knob on the lower lamphouse.

Lack of a name plate facing forward. The column appears to, still, be 32mm.

The precise form of head lock on the right (facing) did not pass on to the later model.

However,  it is in the introduction of a tilting lamphouse that the machine adds a feature to become long lived and much appreciated!

scan here

Is it going too far to speculate that the 'limited supply' of negative carriers  in stock  for less popular sizes were left over from 1941? Three Index stops is generous indeed.

Apologies for the limited scan but my scanner misses the 'gutter' of bound books.

It is noticeable that the first Advert I have traced is 1946 in another publication and in bold type below the Leitz classic logo appears 'American Made' No logo is shown on the lamphouse.
By Summer 1950 the 'New Focomat 1c' from a, partly, rebuilt Europe was featured with the traditional swans neck condenser lever and a column of, still, 32mm- not yet 40mm,  with the much improved foot of asymetrical shape which endured until the very end. This appears to have marked the end of the 1B.

Noteworthy on the American 1c is the strange logo set in an unknown typeface with an overscored name and a sloping font.  It just occurred to me that this may have been in response to the 1950 legal case over the use of the Leitz classic trademark.  ( More than fully reported on the Internet if you should wish to research, but now of rather arcane interest.)  This might also explain the lack of a name plate on the 1b.

Introduction of the 1c-a poor scan but  from Summer 1950 when New York had stocks of the German made enlarger, However the odd logo is still seen in Fall  1952 advertisements but not,  I think, in the UK.

This first Ic had a 32mm column just as before and was advertised in company with the traditional Valoy unchanged since pre war days. Rather disturbing to a UK reader is the wiring schematic which omits any reference to earthing- the old problem.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Recruitment............ again!

Any visitor to this site who is interested in joining The Leica Society, or this Circle, which operates as a part of the Society, will be made most welcome.  Just an email to the address at the head of this site will be enough to get details. Due to the postal basis of print distribution we are forced to limit this Circle to Great Britain and Ireland but other Circles exist as set out in the Leica Society Website.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

LPP in the last weeks before Sept 1939...........

In their manner of the time the Amateur Photographic press of pre war days devoted a good allowance of space to 'free' copy in the form of reports from the clubs around the U.K. Hidden among these prosaic notes were some real gems that reveal the activities of L.P.P. at the time. In 1939 the country had passed through one heightened fear of War and while it seemed inevitable the words 'Keep calm and Cary On' we truer than ever.

The three examples below illustrate the activity of the day fairly well-what we lack is a report of the response but they anticipate a type of activity which has become more and more frequent in the present day - 76 years later-with some of the same cameras!

Click on entry for a better view-the spelling of Barnack is supposed to be an error.

Friday, 1 September 2017