The last two decades of the 19th century Otomar Anschütz was the court-photographer of the German empire, Willhelm II.
In that function he frequently accompanied the “Kaiser” and his family on their journeys.
He was specialized in taking photos of fast moving animals and sportsmen. He invented the focal plane shutter, allowing to make shutter times possible up to 1/1000 sec. In the year 1883 he placed 24 cameras in line and made brilliant pictures of the movements of a flying stork as well of a javelin thrower. He made himself deserving by photographing Lilienthal’s flying training on the “Fliegeberg” in 1894.
Courtesy archives Otto-Lilienthal-Museum
The Goerz Anschuetz strut folding camera, introduced in 1896 was equipped with a “Ottomar Anschuetz Patented” focal plane shutter. It was a shutter with two roller blinds separated by a slit. Different exposures times can be obtained by altering the width of the slit and setting the speed with the lower knob on the right side of the camera. The width of the slit can be changed by setting the position of the end of the string. The original upper roller blind showed 5 figures printed in red: 0,1,2,3,4 and the description “Ottomar Anschuetz Lissa Preussen.
The blinds are made from cloth with a rubber coating to make it light proof. I suppose that the camera was not used for a period of decades or longer, as the blinds could not be rolled off. I removed the mechanism and peeled the blinds off the shaft. I made the new blinds of shutter curtain material. It is not a hell of a job. On the other hand, the camera is not quite original anymore, but it works...and it’s nice to make pictures with it.
This particular camera is equipped with a Doppel Anastigmat 4,6/120 mm. The lens-board can be moved up and down and shifted to the left and the right. The upper knob is to cock the shutter. Turn it clockwise until it stops.
Before winding the shutter, the spring tension should be set with the lower knob turning it anti-clockwise in 10 steps. The shutter-speed depends on the speed of the shutter-curtain and the width of the slit between the two roller-blinds.
Turn the winding knob until the slit is visible and set the slider. To test the shutter, you may use the Electronic Shutter
Now everything is working again, you’d like to make some photos with it. To focus, you can use the sports-finder. On this camera it is a peep-hole on the rear and a hinged frame finder on the front side of the back. Later models came with a eye-piece with lens and a Newton finder. To be sure, you better focus on the ground-glass. Therefore you have to turn the upper knob until it stops. Then push the little knob on the left side of the camera while turning the right knob further. When it stops, the back of the camera is open and you can put in the ground-glass and focus. After focusing release the shutter. The roller-blind comes down completely in one time, so you have to cock the shutter again. Slide the plate holder loaded with film in the back of the camera. Convince yourself that the focal plane shutter has been set and winded before pulling the dark slide.
If you’re lucky you’ll have the original plate-holders. Cut 4x5 inch sheet film down to the size 90x122 mm.
To use them with modern sheet-film you have to make a underlay of glass or plastic in the same size but not thicker than 2 mm to make sure the sheet-film lays plain.
Cut 4x5 inch to the appropriate size of Use the dark room to load the film into the holder. Do some
practice in daylight with used film or negatives.
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