Gandolfi Tailboard restoration

Darrin

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I'm new to this group but not photography, I would also consider myself as the lucky owner of Gandolfi Tailboard with a 5x4 back as well as the bookform plate back. The camera has not been used in many years and needs a clean although the bellows still seem light tight upon inspection with a highly directional light source. From reading online information guessing the age is a problem although it has bevelled bellows. Could it have been made by the legend himself, there is no mark on the camera I can see but the 5x4 back has a name stamp. Any ideas on the best way to clean the wood? would you leave the patina on the brass or polish it up. Where can I find a new lens panel, I have been looking for quite a while. Ideas and suggestions would be much appreciated and sorry to ask so many questions on a first post.
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Alan Clark

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Lovely camera Darrin. Regarding cleaning it, the wood finish is likely to be French polish, which isn't waterproof. So go careful. A cotton bud perhaps, or a wet wipe, to get the dirt off. Whatever you try, do it first where it won't show, to see what happens. French polish dissolves in meths, by the way.

Alan
 

Ian Grant

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The back is the same style and has the same brass work as the Gandolfi Half plate spring back I have, it will have been made by Fred and Arthur post WWII.

Some furniture restorer like Rustin Scratch cover is probably all that's needed to remove any sligh scrathes, it does come in different colours. Or just clean with a cloth an regular Pledge furniture polish.

Ian
 

Darrin

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Lovely camera Darrin. Regarding cleaning it, the wood finish is likely to be French polish, which isn't waterproof. So go careful. A cotton bud perhaps, or a wet wipe, to get the dirt off. Whatever you try, do it first where it won't show, to see what happens. French polish dissolves in meths, by the way.

Alan
Many thanks for the wise words of caution, I didn't realise it might be French polish. I will assemble my cleaning kit carefully and put the scotchbrite in the bin then :)
Seriously, thank you.
 

Darrin

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The back is the same style and has the same brass work as the Gandolfi Half plate spring back I have, it will have been made by Fred and Arthur post WWII.

Some furniture restorer like Rustin Scratch cover is probably all that's needed to remove any sligh scrathes, it does come in different colours. Or just clean with a cloth an regular Pledge furniture polish.

Ian
Many thanks Ian, its thick with grime in some areas and I want to make sure I don't make matters worse
 

Ian Grant

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It's fairly straight forward to make a new lens boad for the camera. The Gandolfi website did stated that they were going to restart camera manufacture in September 2017, the company was by then run by Eddy Mees, there were lens boards available. However nothing came of it and the website disappeared.

Ian
 

thronobulax

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Other than light cleaning, I wouldn't touch anything on that camera. It's in remarkable shape. The patina is a mark of character and loving use. Congratulations on a lovely find.
 

Darrin

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You have a point, I reckon I will keep it as is with a good clean and get the router out to make a new lens board.
 

Darrin

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Just out of interest this is the lens I will be using to start off with, its a Goerz Patent Ross Double Anastigmat 7" f7.7. I can't find much information about it but I gather it will cover 5x4, glass is unmarked with no bloom, its a poor photo taken with a smartphone. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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Ian Grant

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It's a very early Ross Goerz Double Anastigmat lens, designed in 1892, yours is pre 1904 when it was named as a Daor and also slightly imroved to become an f6.8 lens (12"and shorter FL). Doppel Anastigmat GoeRz.

A 7" Dagor covers 7x5 at full aperture, Whole plate at f16 and 10x8 at f45, so easily covers 5x4. I have a 120mm and that covers 7x5 stopped down.

Pre-WW1 it was common for leading lens manufacturers to license their Patents and designs to competitors in other countries this went both ways Zeiss licensed some Ross designs, Ross, Krauss, B& L and others licensed Zeiss designs, Ross also licensing the Dagor.

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Because it's a 6 element lens in two cemented groups there are only two internal air/glass surfaces it has significantly better contrast than a similar uncoated Tessar which has 4 internal air/glass surfaces. Lowest contrast comes with the 4 element uncemented Dialyte lenses like the Goerz Celor with 6 internal air/glass surfaces,

Ian
 

Ian Grant

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It's worth adding that pre-WW1 the specialist optical glasses need for lenses all came from the Abbe glass works in Germany owned by Carl Zeiss. and that explains the closer links between manufacturers.

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A 1900 Christmas Advert. Newoptical glasses in 1902 lead to the introduction of the Xeiss Tessar and the redesign of the Goerz Double anastigmat. A 1902 Ross advert in "Photography for Novices - The Primus Handbook" shows that Ross had changed to the later Aperture control ring.

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So that gives an idea of the age of your 7" Dagor

Ian
 

Ian Grant

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C P Goerz's own advert from The Primus MAnual 1902, published by W Butcher & Son, Primus was one oftheir brand names,

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Note that the lens illustrated in the second image is the 1 B not the Series III (Dagor). However it's interesting the Westminster Abbey, Henry VIII's Chapel, the image is made with a 6" Dagor on a Whole Plate (8½"x6½") camera.

Ian
 

Darrin

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Wow, Ian thanks for all the information, this lens is a keeper then. I am pretty well versed in the glass used over the years being a Zeiss fanatic and all things Zeiss, including Otto Schott and the Jena glass works. My aim for this camera, unlike all my others is for it to be primarily an all British instrument with British optics from the likes of Ross, Dallmeyer, Cooke, TTH and even Wray, all of which I have relatively little knowledge of.
I have even noticed Analogue Wonderland sell glass half plates which I think I will give a go when I can find a plate holder that fits!
 

Darrin

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C P Goerz's own advert from The Primus MAnual 1902, published by W Butcher & Son, Primus was one oftheir brand names,

View attachment 2866View attachment 2867

Note that the lens illustrated in the second image is the 1 B not the Series III (Dagor). However it's interesting the Westminster Abbey, Henry VIII's Chapel, the image is made with a 6" Dagor on a Whole Plate (8½"x6½") camera.

Ian
What a shame we no longer have an optical industry to speak of.
 

Ian Grant

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Cooke was the brand name used by TTH for their lenses, in recent years the lens division became a separate company Cooke Optics Ltd. TTH became plain Taylor Hobson and while no longer making lenses are involved manufacturing precision instruments used by lens manufacturers as well as for other fields.

You missed Beck off that list, they still make lenses in Hertfordshire although mainly highly specialised SWIR used for survailance and border control. The remnants of Wray exists as an optical sub-division of one of the companies formed after the break up of Rank. It might surprise you that we actuall have quite a thriving optical industry here in the UK just highly specialised and not consumer orientated and Pilkington is the major supplier of specialist optical glasses. The dire shortage of specialist optical glass from Germany during WW1 lead to the Government helping Pilkington set up their Optical glass division.

My main lens on my 10x8 camera is a 12" f6.8 Dagor, Goerz Am Opt. made around 1939/40 and coated post WWII. Goerz and Zeiss were the only companies to have factories supplying both sides in WW1. The Goerz Am Opt company in New York run by CP Goerz sons both US citizens supplying US forces and Goerz Berlin the Germans, as was Carl Zeiss Jena. However the Carl Zeiss (London) Mill Hill factory was supplying the British with binoculars and some lenses under Ross control.

Ian
 

Darrin

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Looks like I am going to have a lot of searching around for lenses ahead of me, I'm down in Bristol next month at RPS house and will rummage through their archives.
Meanwhile I assume that plate backs from this period did not conform to a standard design and each maker had its own fitting, whereas the plates themselves were of standard sizes, therefore I gather I would need Gandolfi plate backs?
 

Ian Grant

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Forget getting Book form plate holders it's a nightmare getting the correct fit, modern International fit plateholders are easy to find, I have some in the For Sale section and have a lot more.

Your Gandolfi spring back is an International back designed t take 5x4 or 9x12 cm film or plate holders same outside dimensions.

Ian
 
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