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4x5 Series B Serial No. and Special Attribution

 
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:31 pm    Post subject: 4x5 Series B Serial No. and Special Attribution Reply with quote

Hello,

I have just purchased a Graflex Series B RB 4x5 with a Goerz Dagor 30cm f6.8. It's serial number is on front fold-down is 141618. Also, the lens board sliding holding plate has been engraved and reads "Martin Johnson" which may be the famous early safari/adventure photographer and film-maker.

I would like to know what is the date of manufacture of this camera and if there is any special mention as a gift camera. Johnson was a friend of George Eastman.

Many thanks,

Todd Macon
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45PSS



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

141618 is in the middle of an order of 200 4x5 RB Auto listed mid August 1924.
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Last edited by 45PSS on Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:56 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Also, the lens board sliding holding plate has been engraved and reads

The Series B has a lens on a non removable lens mount and the lens screws into the mount. The lens extends from the center of the camera front with a smallish door that closes over it.
The Telescopic Graflex has a removable lens board 3 3/4 or so inch square. The front standard moves out from the body on rails each side of the standard mounted at the lower edge of each side of the standard.
The "official" cutoff date for the Telescopic was 1923.
The official introduction date for the Series B was 1923.
I had a 1922 Telescopic design with a factory Series B tag. There have been Series B design 1923 and 1924 serial numbers with Telescopic listed serial number.

Which design do you have?
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Last edited by 45PSS on Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:56 pm    Post subject: Telescopic Graflex Reply with quote

Hello and thanks for your reply, 45PSS,

This would then be the Telescopic Graflex because it has a removable lens board (which is where the engraved name is) and the front standard does move out onto the standard.

There is a tag on the side that labels it a Series B.

Since this is a Telescopic Graflex with the number 141618, what is its year of production, and would there ever be a notation if it was special presentation camera?
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:46 pm    Post subject: Some Photos of Early Reflex Reply with quote

Here is a link to a Google Album of the camera. I hope that they are helpful. Not the engraving on the lens board holder.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/A2vgVuWTPRhAfmNc8
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The camera in the link is a RB Auto. Someone has used parts off a 1924 Series B (name tag) to complete the camera.
There are other members that have not posted in years that are more knowledgeable than I am but Graflex never badged a RB Auto as a Series B.
This 1920 Catalog shows a Telescopic Graflex on page 24 and a RB Auto on page 26. http://piercevaubel.com/cam/catalogs/1920graflexlp376.htm
The RB Series B is shown on page 14 of this 1923 catalog
http://piercevaubel.com/cam/catalogs/1923graflexlp324.htm
and the RB Auto is on page 20. Notice the RB Auto has the speed table on the view hood not the body.
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Last edited by 45PSS on Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:32 pm    Post subject: RB Auto Reply with quote

Wow. Thank you. And the catalogue is really neat. So based on the serial number is this a 1920 Auto?
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:54 pm    Post subject: Early booklet with Camera Reply with quote

Also in this collection was this early Graflex booklet.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/XnRVVztm2EftC8DA7

Is this something you already have, or would your organization like a scan?
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So based on the serial number is this a 1920 Auto?

No. 141618 is assigned to a 4x5 RB (EDIT) Auto in 1924.
Your pictures confirms its a 4x5 RB Auto, date of manufacture unknown, with 4x5 RB Series B parts. The 4x5 RB Auto was made from 1907 to 1940.
https://graflex.org/graflex-products-list.html
The RB Auto was a rectangular box from 1907 to 1915 then the notched front was introduced in 1916 and remained until end of production.

Someone has taken parts from a 4x5 RB Series B and used them on a 4x5 RB Auto.

The catalogs are provided by the California Museum of Photography Riverside California.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mis read the book!
141618 is registered to a 4x5 RB Auto in August 1924.
You have a 4x5 RB Auto with a Series B tag on it.

Previous posts have been edited to reflect this error correction.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:36 pm    Post subject: Thank you! And now for Martin Johnson. Reply with quote

Thank you so much for your continued interest and digging!

Through my research I have discovered that Martin Johnson was a friend of George Eastman (even took him on safari) and is featured in a Graflex advertisement. I found mention of the advertisement in the archives of the Eastman museum, but the photo itself is not available online. Johnson also started out as an early Kodak salesman.

The story of Martin and Osa Johnson is fascinating. The Disney movie "Up" is loosely based on them.

I am hoping to find evidence that this was a gift camera or in some ways can be attributed to him.
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