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Summarex two-colour....


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In a recent auction a Summarex 85 mm was for sale, its number : 593128 (normally the chrome lenses started later ! It was both chrome, black and also nickel!
It seems to me that Pecole (Pierre Jendrain) had one with the same characteristics and a very similar serial number, there is also one in the Leitz museum.
Could one think that in a very short period of time Leica manufactured some lenses with sparse feet, this in order to satisfy quickly the urgent demand of the German army ?
For the record the lens sold for 3770 € including fees...above my last bid unfortunately!

 

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Here is a Schneider lens from 1943 with an unusual finish.  Other wartime Schneider lenses I have are painted gray.

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Your explanation is quite possible...With that number, it's at all probable that this was a lens made for the military... even if items in that batch are reported as built well after WW end (and in that case, it could be one of the lenses assembled with "factory available" parts, in a difficult time for Leitz) ; the lack of chrome during war is well known issue. I note that the f stop index is a semi-circled triangle... a detail which is varying from item to item in that batch.

The story of the first years of Summarex is anyway rather complex... according to some sources, the lenses actually provided to military (100) were all black, and maybe even marked as "9 cm"... I seem to remember that this topic was discussed in depth in the Forum, some years ago. 

 

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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Here is a picture from the actual Delivery Records. I have this as part of my research into the Summarex lens, and its early history of non-delivery to the German military during WWII. Yes, originally the lens was shown as 9cm Summar in prototype renderings.

You will notice that there is no written entry for 593128. The entry for 593127 is for November 1945. I cannot read the name, but it was for a Colonel in the US Army. The entry for 593129 is dated January 13, 1946 to a US Army Staff Sgt. During this time period, many cameras and lenses were delivered to US Army personnel. The Summarex was a highly specialized lens, and the 9cm Elmar would have been a much more popular choice at that time.

The fact that there is no entry for 593128 leads me to believe that this lens was never officially produced, hence no entry in the delivery record. The appearance of the lens, with mixed finishes also leads me to believe that this lens "escaped" from the factory, most likely assembled from mis-matched parts. It is well known that war time and early post-war Summarexes were all black paint finished, never in chrome or nickel. Chrome finish was from much later production. 

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Edited by derleicaman
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Thank you for this list which allows me to see that 593119, a bi-colour which is in the Wetzlar museum, has not been given any information either and that Pierre's 593126 was originally a black, so it was modified later.
I see that many numbers have no attribution, it would be interesting to know if they were really produced, like 593128

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I got Jim Lager's take on this, and he agrees it was not officially made by the Leitz factory, but more likely made up from scavenged parts and "escaped" from the factory. In the immediate post-war period, things were chaotic in Wetzlar to say the least, and not everything was done "by the book". It is interesting to note that most of the deliveries noted were made to military personnel.

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Here is Summarex  593130, as shown in post 5 there is no entry in the record book, but it appears original all black.  with cap and hood with thumb screw.  I also have 593155 delivered 7/31/45 and 593174 delivered 7/20/46 and 593176 no delivery date recorded and 593193 no delviery date.  As Luigi says, there could be several reasons for lack of an entry, including the chaos of war time. Reportedly, lens 593324 which was shipped 12/49 is likely at the end of black production.  I have recorded 327 as black and 328 as chrome.  Also, reportedly lenses 593331 to 593349 were not produced and 593350 could be the start of full chrome production.  This may not be considered exact, again a few exceptions may exist.  Any lens with serial below 593330 and having chrome parts that would be normally black may be the result of a conversion after black spare parts were long gone and all chrome lenses were the order of the day. Other markers, such as type of base, number of dots, and the apeature index mark, can also be used to assist with originality or approximate time dating.  I believe they were all coated from the beginning, but the type of coating may have changed.  Vidom 65 and Viewfinder 15 have some background findings. I have also recorded 593126 as a black and chrome hybrid.

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20 hours ago, derleicaman said:

 It is interesting to note that most of the deliveries noted were made to military personnel.

The only people in Germany with cash to spend back then were Allied military men. And then where you would you put the 'British Military Intelligence' guys who were employees of Reid and Sigrist in Leicester in fake military uniforms and who visited the Leitz factory in Wetzlar in 1946? They were acquiring information which subsequently enabled the manufacture of the British Reid Leica copy camera. Also in Leicester there was a company called the National Optical Company which manufactured a 105mm f 3.5 lens made up from black and chrome parts. This one has a mount made in Scotland which earned it the name 'Stewartry'.

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I am struck by the similarities in some of the lenses shown on this page. Some of them look like lenses that have been made up from parts bins of some kind, but mixing black and chrome parts was not unknown in that era. 

I agree with Jim Lager that the lens in the first post above seems to have been made from parts that came from the factory, something that was not uncommon in that time time period. 

Just a few points occur.

1. In the set of 3 photos in the first post above there appears to be a black slot or piece of black tape on the lens just above the depth of field scale- see second photo- does this have a purpose or are my eyes deceiving me about this? 

2. The nickel ring with distances looks similar to what is shown in the drawing of the 9cm f1.5 Summarex at the top left of page 71 of Lager's lens book. There are other lenses shown on the same page, but I cannot tell whether the similar ring on those lenses is chrome or nickel.

Whatever it is, it seems to be a 'parts bin' job made up from what are probably all genuine Leitz parts. To my eyes it is a genuine 'Leica lens'. 

William 

 

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Indeed there is a black piece that looks like vulcanite or a part of strong adhesive tape. I told myself that if I won the auction I would be happy to remove this part, in my opinion it could be to hide a military inscription or other hypothesis that would allow to better keep the distance scale...

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Here is an image of my Black Summarex # 593285, along with the delivery record page. It was shipped to E. Leitz New York on August 1, 1949. This lens was featured in Jim Lager's article in the most recent LSI Viewfinder on interesting items he had encountered while working at Leitz Rockleigh. This lens is also engraved with the name of its original owner "Red Richards".

Another interesting note is that in the delivery records in the notation for description of the objective, these are noted as Summarex B. This abreviation after Summarex was code for a coated lens. Virtually all of the description notes have this designation, but not all. Does this mean that not all of the Summarex lenses were coated?

I am also showing the first page of regular Summarex production, beginning with # 593001, with this lens being shipped on July 15, 1943 to Berlin 29777. All of the lenses on this page were wartime deliveries under this same order number 29777. One exception is lens # 593015, which is noted without focusing mount. It was sent to the Deutsches Reichspost, Berlin on July 6, 1943, order number 11643, so it is actually predates the other Summarex lenses on this page shipped from Leitz. This is interesting for several reasons. Why did the Reichspost get a lens without a focusing mount? Why did it get the first one shipped? One clue might be that the Reichspost, along with the obvious mission of delivering the mail, was also in charge of several secret projects during the period of the Third Reich, among these were early television broadcasting and the nuclear/atomic bomb research and development. I imagine they were also involved with the night vision program that Leitz participated in as well. Why did they want this Summarex lens head without focusing mount?

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Edited by derleicaman
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th

16 hours ago, luigi bertolotti said:. do all your old items (say, 155 to 193) have the dots ? (appparently , also the 128 posted has them)

 

Here are 6 of my 16 summarex's, from the left,  593130,155,174,176,192,263.   All have the intermediate aperature red dots except for 263. They looked white in my last post, but they are all definitely red. 7 dots.   All these lenses are in meters, except for one that is in feet and has "germany" engraved, likely for export.  Of the 5 in meters only one has "germany" engraved, maybe export to a metric country.  The lens 593263 was shipped 5/29/49, a late lens.  The first four lenses have the "early" base, the 192 and 263 have the "late" base.  See photo for difference.

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Early base with smooth ridge on left, later base with knurled ring on the right.

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17 hours ago, derleicaman said:

Here is an image of my Black Summarex # 593285, along with the delivery record page. It was shipped to E. Leitz New York on August 1, 1949. This lens was featured in Jim Lager's article in the most recent LSI Viewfinder on interesting items he had encountered while working at Leitz Rockleigh. This lens is also engraved with the name of its original owner "Red Richards".

Another interesting note is that in the delivery records in the notation for description of the objective, these are noted as Summarex B. This abreviation after Summarex was code for a coated lens. Virtually all of the description notes have this designation, but not all. Does this mean that not all of the Summarex lenses were coated?

I am also showing the first page of regular Summarex production, beginning with # 593001, with this lens being shipped on July 15, 1943 to Berlin 29777. All of the lenses on this page were wartime deliveries under this same order number 29777. One exception is lens # 593015, which is noted without focusing mount. It was sent to the Deutsches Reichspost, Berlin on July 6, 1943, order number 11643, so it is actually predates the other Summarex lenses on this page shipped from Leitz. This is interesting for several reasons. Why did the Reichspost get a lens without a focusing mount? Why did it get the first one shipped? One clue might be that the Reichspost, along with the obvious mission of delivering the mail, was also in charge of several secret projects during the period of the Third Reich, among these were early television broadcasting and the nuclear/atomic bomb research and development. I imagine they were also involved with the night vision program that Leitz participated in as well. Why did they want this Summarex lens head without focusing mount?

 

 

 

Bill, a natural question about... how many of the "Berlin 29777" items still exist ? I have spotted 033 053 076 at auctions  (the 053 even "too fine...")

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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Of the first 100 serials, 593001-593100, I have observed 22 lenses. So the remaining were, never shipped, destroyed in the war or some manner, lost and awaiting discovery, kept secret in a collection or ?.  Maybe the records show that the first 90 were Berlin bound on order 29777, as is often quoted.

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  • 10 months later...

For derleicaman: I have been very fortunate to recently purchase lens 593122.  It has the orginal base, red aperture dots, meter scale, bayonet mounts for the hood, and is coated. Can you interpret the listing for me on the Delivery Record that you posted above on March 30, 2023.  I am trying to track down the history of the lens.

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9 hours ago, Eardoc said:

For derleicaman: I have been very fortunate to recently purchase lens 593122.  It has the orginal base, red aperture dots, meter scale, bayonet mounts for the hood, and is coated. Can you interpret the listing for me on the Delivery Record that you posted above on March 30, 2023.  I am trying to track down the history of the lens.

The coating is in accordance with the description on the delivery record ("Summarex B" - see post #13) . Delivered 16/5/46 to ... ("Virgil M. " ?)

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16 hours ago, Eardoc said:

For derleicaman: I have been very fortunate to recently purchase lens 593122.  It has the orginal base, red aperture dots, meter scale, bayonet mounts for the hood, and is coated. Can you interpret the listing for me on the Delivery Record that you posted above on March 30, 2023.  I am trying to track down the history of the lens.

Here is the page from the Delivery Records with your lens, #593122. The page you were looking at in my earlier post was not for your lens, but for lenses #593001-593033. It takes a little familiarity of how these books are arranged to not get lost.

The entry shows a delivery for lens # 593122 on 16/5/46 to a name I cannot make out. Perhaps Alan or someone else here can help out. If you look at the other entries on this page, most of the deliveries were made to various military personnel of the Allied powers. To the victors go the spoils! Their ranks are given, and most of them ar Captains, Majors, Colonels and Lieutenants. One interesting entry is for lens #593142 on 13/2/46 to a T Sgt. (Technical Sergeant) Kelley. Lowest rank I observed here.

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8 hours ago, luigi bertolotti said:

The coating is in accordance with the description on the delivery record ("Summarex B" - see post #13) . Delivered 16/5/46 to ... ("Virgil M. " ?)

Hello Luigi, I don't think this is "Virgil". Second word starts with an M, I am seeing possibly Maiffner, but that is only a guess. 

One interesting entry is for #593131 for Major Nelson on 25/3/46. FYI, Major Nelson was in control of the factory in Wetzlar. I have seen his story where he talks about his time there as part of the US Occupation Forces. Needless to say, he had also obtained numerous other Leica items during his time there.

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