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alan mcfall

Black and Chrome Model II, with Specialities-Tiranty engraving

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I recently obtained this Model II camera,  black paint finish with chrome hardware.  It also has the  "S-T" engraving on the top plate, which I assume is the Tiranty sales outlet in France.

A previous forum post noted a model IIIa (251562) in chrome, with the "S-T" engraving and stated that factory records indicated it was delivered in August 1937; and deliveries were suspended sometime in 1938.  The few "S-T" cameras that I have seen are chrome and mostly model IIIa.

I believe this camera is a late 1937 production and fits the appropriate time period.  I was hoping that someone could identify the delivery date in the records, and also if other forum members had collected or had seen other black and chrome "S-T" cameras.  Thanks.

I have collected many black and chrome cameras, Models III, II and Std. They represent only a small percentage of leica black paint cameras. I have, via several hundred collected serial numbers, estimated the black/chrome production at   Std. = 4095, III = 3800 and II = 2450.  I think the Std is highest as it was often used for microscope and other application where the buyer did not need to pay extra for a chrome body.  The model II was of course losing favor to the model III with its top of the line slow speed feature, strap lugs, etc.  Anyway, I will try to do a report on these cameras sometime.  Perhaps others have some specifics to share.

 

 

 

 

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Alan,

not S-T but black/chrome with close number. Mine has engravings filled with Wismuth, I believe yours as well. Is S-T engraving filled with Wismuth or white paint?

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Here is my Black and Chrome Leica III set from 1937 with SN 249xxx.

 

 

My understanding is that these were produced to order via dealers after the production of the black and nickel bodies ceased. That could explain the Tiranty marking on the sample shown above. When chrome models were first introduced around 1932/33 they were more expensive than the black and nickel models. It would be interesting to find out if there was a premium for the black and chrome models in the late 1930s as they were now from outside of the main production stream, which was chrome at that stage.

 

William

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So many interesting issues. We know that Philippe Tiranty, a successful inventor and optical author became a Leitz agent as early as 1925.  I do not know when his mark was applied to the cameras, possibly early on the baseplate and later on the top abbreviated "S-T".  So few Tiranty marked cameras are found that the overall number existing must be low.  Below, is a catalog of 56 pages showing that he represented both Leitz and Glunz in 1930.  The Leica camera ( we now call model I) and the Compur leica with all period accessories are shown.

 

   

 

The "S-T" engraving on the top of my camera, appears to be white paint to me.  Which brings the question was this mark applied in Wetzlar or France?  If a camera was selected from a batch for Tiranty destination, it would already have the Bismuth filled engraving without the "S-T". I think the process of wiping-in of the filling was a one-pass operation. So maybe Leitz added the "S-T" and filled it with white paint.  

 

In 1932, 100% of Leitz cameras were black paint with nickle plated hardware, knobs, speed dial, shutter button, small baseplate pin, lens mount, baseplate key, etc.  With the availability of chrome plating in 1933, complete cameras were in chrome, top plate, base plate and so on.  But Leitz continued to offer black paint cameras with nickle hardware.  Evidently, assembly and repair inventories must have contained both finishes.  I believe this continued until 1936.  The demise of black camera was coming. By 1935, Black cameras were only 34% of all production.  The following year this dropped to 20%, by 1937 6.9% and for 1938 and 39 black cameras were only 4% and 3% respectively.  The new cameras IIIa and IIIb were essentially available only in full chrome plating.  By early 1936 Leitz must have made the decision that future black paint cameras would use chrome hardware. In all catalogs to 1939, the fully chrome cameras were priced higher than the black paint cameras.

The earliest black and chrome camera I have seen is 193358, early 1936.  I have recorded only a few black and nickle cameras in second half 1936 production.  It seems the transition to black and chrome was mostly complete in early 1936.  Maybe an occasional customer request for nickle or the use of soon-to- be- obsolete inventory took place.  This same transition in finish also seems to match Leitz microscope production.

 

 

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In 1932, 100% of Leitz cameras were black paint with nickle plated hardware, knobs, speed dial, shutter button, small baseplate pin, lens mount, baseplate key, etc.  With the availability of chrome plating in 1933, complete cameras were in chrome, top plate, base plate and so on.  But Leitz continued to offer black paint cameras with nickle hardware.  Evidently, assembly and repair inventories must have contained both finishes.  I believe this continued until 1936.  The demise of black camera was coming. By 1935, Black cameras were only 34% of all production.  The following year this dropped to 20%, by 1937 6.9% and for 1938 and 39 black cameras were only 4% and 3% respectively.  The new cameras IIIa and IIIb were essentially available only in full chrome plating.  By early 1936 Leitz must have made the decision that future black paint cameras would use chrome hardware. In all catalogs to 1939, the fully chrome cameras were priced higher than the black paint cameras.

The earliest black and chrome camera I have seen is 193358, early 1936.  I have recorded only a few black and nickle cameras in second half 1936 production.  It seems the transition to black and chrome was mostly complete in early 1936.  Maybe an occasional customer request for nickle or the use of soon-to- be- obsolete inventory took place.  This same transition in finish also seems to match Leitz microscope production.

 

Thanks Alan. This information is most useful. Looking at Ruettinger's book on Leica advertising it seems that the chrome models started to dominate in advertising from about 1935 onwards. My set of 1930s catalogues is from the UK and published by E.Leitz of 20 Mortimer Street London. In the 1933 catalogue the chrome models make an appearance, more expensive than the black models as noted before, and with the description 'all nickel-plated and black enamelled metal parts chromium-plated'. In the 1936 catalogue black models were available, but the catalogue does not say whether nickel or chrome 'furniture' was used. For the chrome cameras more or less the same description as before 'all nickel and black enamelled parts chromium plated' is used. This might infer that nickel was still used for the 'furniture' on black cameras during 1936. However, if black and chrome cameras also exist for 1936 it seems that 1936 was the year of the changeover. I suspect that Leica started to use chrome parts on black cameras around that time because their parts bins would have been full of chrome parts, given that sales of black cameras had fallen to 20% or less by late 1936. I do not have a catalogue for 1937, the year of my black and chrome set pictured above. The set I have is in near to mint condition apart from the FIKUS hood. It seems to have stayed together over the last 80 years, even down to the little leather holder for the FISON hood. It would seem to me that this was a 'special order' of some kind by 1937, but I have never seen a catalogue or other material from a dealer advertising such an option. I have the 1938 catalogue from E Leitz London and this makes no reference to black enamelled cameras, apart from the Leica 250. There are also some references in the 1938 catalogue to black finish on accessories eg the FOKOS rangefinder. 

 

It would be nice to see some Leica literature from 1937 onwards offering the black enamelled models with chrome furniture. At the very least, it would seem that they would have been 'special orders' at that stage. By today's standards of costly 'a la carte' editions it would seem surprising if such special orders still cost less than the standard chromium production. But they were different times, of course.

 

William

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My 1932 Hektor at 140871, must be one of the earliest chrome lenses. I don't know when it came into the family, as I assume my Grandfather's model II, on which it sits at present, would have had a matching nickel Elmar when bought new in 1935. There was a very tatty Elmar sitting around when I was young, that from time to time was used for enlarging and I used for the first couple of months in 1967 on my new M4, until I had earned enough to buy a S/H 50 Summilux I. It disappeared when my parents moved from the old family house to a bungalow in 1971, due to my father's illness. It is ironic that the chrome version of the Hektor would have been more expensive in 1932, whereas I now would much prefer it was a nickel version. 

 

Wilson

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...I am miss using thread from Alan, but have a question to Wilson. Your Hektor 140xxx - it is 7 o'clock, I suppose. Does it have flat infinity button or domed one? For a short time Elmars and Hektors had flat button, I have heard that these lenses were around 140xxx

Thank you

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My 1932 Hektor at 140871, must be one of the earliest chrome lenses. I don't know when it came into the family, as I assume my Grandfather's model II, on which it sits at present, would have had a matching nickel Elmar when bought new in 1935. There was a very tatty Elmar sitting around when I was young, that from time to time was used for enlarging and I used for the first couple of months in 1967 on my new M4, until I had earned enough to buy a S/H 50 Summilux I. It disappeared when my parents moved from the old family house to a bungalow in 1971, due to my father's illness. It is ironic that the chrome version of the Hektor would have been more expensive in 1932, whereas I now would much prefer it was a nickel version. 

 

Wilson

You may be surprised at how valuable some early chrome lenses are today. Collectiblend shows all Hektors (nickel and chrome) as a single lot, but if you compare the Collectiblend numbers for the early rigid Summars you will see that today the rare chrome rigid models fetch much more than their nickel counterparts. My memory is that chrome Hektors also sell for very good prices. Collecting is a strange business.

 

 

...I am miss using thread from Alan, but have a question to Wilson. Your Hektor 140xxx - it is 7 o'clock, I suppose. Does it have flat infinity button or domed one? For a short time Elmars and Hektors had flat button, I have heard that these lenses were around 140xxx

Thank you

 

Sorry for following you off topic, Jerzy. My nickel Hektor with SN 121464 is 7O'Clock with a flat(tish) infinity knob.

 

William

Edited by willeica

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I got a very weird re-direct to a cisco website security check from Jerzy's post advised as an email from the L-C Forum ???????

 

My Hektor is a 7 o'clock with I think they are called a bell push tab button. See photo below. The value is only likely to be of interest to my children, as when it comes time to put the old man's Leicas to the auction house. So far the interest in Leica's does not seem to have reached the fourth generation, maybe my grandchildren 

 

Wilson

 

PS Why do digital flash photos always make everything look so dusty? 

 

 

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I got a very weird re-direct to a cisco website security check from Jerzy's post advised as an email from the L-C Forum ???????

 

My Hektor is a 7 o'clock with I think they are called a bell push tab button. See photo below. The value is only likely to be of interest to my children, as when it comes time to put the old man's Leicas to the auction house. So far the interest in Leica's does not seem to have reached the fourth generation, maybe my grandchildren 

 

Wilson

 

PS Why do digital flash photos always make everything look so dusty? 

 

That is not a bell push, but the same flattish infinity stop as is on my nickel Hektor. See picture below.

 

 

You are, of course, right to hold onto this lens. I have never sold a Leica lens. Perhaps my children or my wife may do so some day.

 

William

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On the Summar....

Yes, production of the rigid Summar began in 1933 at serial 167001 in nickel.  The earliest reference i have is July 1933. is a US brochure, so may have been a bit earlier in Europe.  Even at this date, both the SUMARKUP (Rigid) and SUMUSKUP (Collapsible) were listed.  The collapsible was 20% more expensive.The lens was closely aligned with the new Model III body.

By October 1933, Leitz was listing both the rigid in nickle (SUMARKUP) and chrome (SUMARCHROME) and the collapsible  in nickle (SUMUSKUP) and chrome (SUMUSCHROME).  In 1934 catalogs only the SUMUS is listed the SUMAR is no longer available. The demand for conversion to collapsible was high, the users still wanted compactness.

A more interesting question is: when was the rigid lens out of production and how many were made? My database shows with good confidence that lots 167xxx, 186xxx and 190xxx were all originally rigid lenses, for a total of 3000. I have not seen a rigid lens above serial 190999.  Now, many of the original rigid lenses were converted to collapsible.  The issue of how many rigid Summars were nickle versus chrome might be estimated. It is uncommon to encounter a nickle rigid summar below late in the 186xxx batch.  Perhaps a few were special request.  After about 186800, continuous batches seem probable.  Overall,  I have recorded 130 rigid serials and only 18 are chrome.  Thus, chrome rigid summars seem to be rare and are often 2 to 3 times nickle prices.

I have 35 summars, but only 8 were originally rigid and only 5 are unconverted.  All are nickle.  The photo shows some rigid summars and early brochures.  Ideally, the rigid summar should be on an early model III. Summar production ended in 1939 at serial 503600.

 

  

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JC, 

 

Are you sure there is not a serial number on your Hektor, hiding under the black paint on the front ring? The engraving is very shallow and could easily be obscured by paint.

 

William,

 

I don't think my infinity tab is the same as yours on the Nickel Hektor, which looks flatter. Mine is the same as JC's shown below yours. It may all be trying to assess a 3D object from looking at a 2D photograph. 

 

Wilson 

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..following on Summar - this time no excuse for misusing the thread, Alan wanted it :-)

Vidom 103 from 2012 contans an article from Dr. Bawendi describing rigid Summar (with many photos of related accessories). Few facts out of this article:

- first batch assigned March 1933: 167001-167851

- second batch assigned September 1933 186001-186200

both batches were rigid Summar exclusively in both Nickel and Chrome

-another two ranges have been assigned Novermber 1933: 190051-190087 and 190650-190982

this last batch had already Summars converted to collapsible (Demand for collapsible was much higher than for rigid).

Bawendi is showing rigid 186872 in chrome.

Alltogether in 1933 2150 Summars have been produced, inlcuding 360 chrome, 1516 nickel and 634 tactory converted to collapsible. Early collapsible had black rim, my 190286 in collapsible, nickel, black rim. 

My chrome black rim is 194336, so from 1934 production.

 

If anyone interested in more details from Bawendi article send me PM

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Are you sure there is not a serial number on your Hektor, hiding under the black paint on the front ring? 

Hektors from IA fixed mount did not have SN stamped. Follwing Leitz rule (not to assign SN to lenses without nor to change the SN) for conversions the lens from JC could be such from IA

Edited by jerzy

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Hektors from IA fixed mount did not have SN stamped. Follwing Leitz rule (not to assign SN to lenses without nor to change the SN) for conversions the lens from JC could be such from IA

 

But would not those be nickel Hektors not chrome like JC's. I thought all lenses made from 1932 onwards, had serials. 

 

Wilson

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