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Yet Again ... Another ‘Mystery’ Photographic Accessory, 1900

In Cameras > Camera Accessories > Show & Tell.
Vintage Camera Accessories13 of 29E. Jacobs Daguerreotype Gallery Token, c.1850-58Prosch Flashlight Products Handbook & Letter, 1914
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    Posted 5 years ago

    rniederman
    (307 items)

    Here's another “What’s this accessory?” post. This isn’t all that difficult and those of you familiar with ‘old school’ photography have an advantage ... or maybe not.

    One of the reasons for these ‘mystery’ posts is to give the collector community an appreciation of some strange and wonderful accessories that have been around since the invention of photography. Some are incredibly odd and work. Others are the equivalent of ‘snake oil.’ Anyhow, I’ve put this on a camera and it works to a certain extent.

    You’re looking at a rather unusual accessory. The item is quite rare and as far as I know this is it ... no others. It’s a nicely lacquered brass tube with a lens at one end. The tangential geared knob can be turned to extend (or retract) the overall length of the tube. This should be enough to give everyone an easy starting point for guesses. (Actually, the CW crowd has proven to be pretty sharp and I expect this to be solved rather quickly.)

    The key here is to figure out why this device was invented and sold. In other words, what does the dang thing do and why would a photographer be interested in this?

    Clue (because you’ll ask anyhow) ... stamped into the tube is “U. Nehring. NY.” Google searches will uncover a couple patents and advertisements. In summary, you’ll learn the company makes optical accessory stuff that weren’t always proven to work.

    As with my previous ‘mystery accessory’ posts, anyone who guesses correctly will have my admiration and that of your CW peers. And once this is figured out, I’ll post an image of the doohickey as it is supposed to work and explain.

    PS: As always, wild comical speculation is encouraged! (You don’t disappoint.)

    *************************

    Not bad ... it took only 12 hours to figure out what this accessory is and does. It was advertised as an 'ampliscope' (whatever that means). Placed between the lens/shutter and the camera body, it converts a normal lens into a poor quality telephoto. Modern versions were marketed and popular in the 1960s and 1970s as "tele-extenders".

    The camera shown here is called "Lightning" (how can you not love the name). It was sold by Shuneman & Evans of St. Paul, Minn. The Nehring and camera were two separate acquisitions from a long time ago, but as you can see the accessory fits nicely.

    Comments

    1. aghcollect aghcollect, 5 years ago
      This reminds me of when I worked on surveyors instruments - for focusing?
    2. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Hi aghcollect and thanks! While I could say that it does focusing to a certain extent, that feature is secondary to its primary purpose.
    3. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
      Adjustable aperture lens.
    4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Ulrich's Wide Angle Periscope Lens?
    5. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, f64imager!
    6. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
      I missed the part were you mentioned the "extend (or retract) the overall length of the tube".
      So with that in mind, a zoom lens.
    7. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      David & eye4 ... good observations but this is not a zoom lens. But as you see it has a lens. Yet you're on the right track.
    8. AzTom AzTom, 5 years ago
      Spotting lens, like on the modern telescopes.
    9. AzTom AzTom, 5 years ago
      I think view finder would have been a better term.
    10. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Spotting lens ... no.
      Lens filter ... no.
      Viewfinder ... no.

      Stick with the concept of a zoom lens.
    11. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      - a telescopic 'lens extension'

      I think I saw the photo the piece set up in the W&BCCgroup
      And a few moments go I think I saw a Wide Angle Periscope Lens too.
    12. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      im going to take a stab at this and im sure im way off , could this be a mirco lens of some kind? im just throwing out ideas or a close up lens?
    13. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      vetraio50 got it! This was made by Nehring as a "special tube for tele-photography." It is mounted between the camera and lens/shutter to create a telephoto lens. While it does increase the magnification of an image, the quality of the image suffers quite a bit.
    14. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Sean ... thanks for looking. You were on the right track. Except this is the opposite of a micro lens.
    15. ericevans2 ericevans2, 5 years ago
      Dallmeyer produced one in England, called "The Adon", a title which is self-explanatory I guess.
    16. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      surfdub66
      racer4four
      vetraio50
    17. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      Sean
      AzTom
    18. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      eye4beauty
      Eric
    19. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, gargoylecollector!
    20. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, Manikin!
    21. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, Michael!
    22. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
      Found this while combing through the Scientific American archives (1899)
      Telephotography
      https://archive.org/stream/scientific-american-1899-04-01/scientific-american-v80-n13-1899-04-01#page/n9/mode/2up
    23. shareurpassion shareurpassion, 5 years ago
      A zoom lens! lol I have a pencil sharpener that looks very much like this does :)
    24. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      David ... good information and a great read! Thanks for the link.

      Thanks again, Manikin.

      Hi shareurpassion ... not actually a zoom lens but a device to increase magnification (as described in the 1899 Scientific American article). Let's see your pencil sharpener!
    25. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, blunderbuss2!
    26. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, surfdub66!
    27. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks!
      packrat-place
      inky

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