Carl Zeiss Postwar Lens Serial Numbers

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by radi(c)al_cam, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. radi(c)al_cam

    radi(c)al_cam Leica Place Regular

    Oct 20, 2016
    «if one's an incident, two's a coincidence, and three's a pattern, what's four?»

    Concretely: Are the data here Carl Zeiss serial numbers - - The free camera encyclopedia actually correct?

    In other words: I have to admit, I'm not an expert on this question, and I do not have THIELE's books at hand, which could perhaps answer this conundrum that I believe to have noticed recently.

    When we were discussing the different M42 Tessars recently — West Germany late 1960s / early 1970s, and East Germany mid-1950s — I found:

    Regarding the West German Tessar specimens in my possession:
    Their serial #s have seven figures, and both start with a «72» — which, I presume, could be quite probably the year of production (or placing on the market) of the two particular items.

    Regarding the East German Tessar in Raid's possession, and mine:
    Their serial #s have seven figures, and the numbers end with «54» (Raid's) and «53» (mine) — and again, this would fit the production year, cf.: Zeiss Tessar 5cm 2.8 adapted to ltm.

    What I found, is this just incident, or coincidence, or a pattern, let alone «what's four?» ?

    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I have an older copy of Thiele- lenses were ordered in Batches, the SN assigned when the batch was ordered. Often the completion dates of the batches were out of order. So the SN is not a strict indicator of production date. I would view the WIKI page as an "indication" of date, not actual production period.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  3. radi(c)al_cam

    radi(c)al_cam Leica Place Regular

    Oct 20, 2016
    Thank you, Brian.

    I must confess, my insinuated hypothesis above — that the last two figures could indicate East German production years — is totally nonsensical. Usually I’m not that a nitwit, I guess, but exactly the same time I was drafting correspondence with a truly outlandish acting foreign tax authority, that must have made me a bit a dunce ;)
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  4. radi(c)al_cam

    radi(c)al_cam Leica Place Regular

    Oct 20, 2016
    I have to add, to an extent, I did realise something: the Carl Zeiss (West) serial numbers are inconsistent, or incoherent.

    Prof. Marco Cavina explains:


    «[…] va notato che, nonostante la firma Carl Zeiss, l'obiettivo Telomar esce da una linea di produzione differente (curata da Voigtlaender), come dimostrato dal numero di matricola "illogico" (ad Oberkochen sono arrivati a questi valori intorno al 1990...)»

    «[…] it should be noted that, despite the Carl Zeiss signature, the Telomar lens comes from a different production line (curated by Voigtländer), as demonstrated by the ‹illogical› serial number (Oberkochen was to arrive at these values around 1990 …)»