Volute shutter and Busch lens
Volute Variation 2 – c. 1900
Bausch & Lomb’s Volute was an advanced standard shutter construction with a wider shutter speed range from 3 to 1/150 seconds, plus B and T mode. It had two characteristic pistons, one to connect the tube of the release bulb, the other as part of the speed setting mechanics. For the aperture setting, it had a built-in iris diaphragm.
Bausch & Lomb is today a manufacturer of contact lenses and eyecare products. It began in 1853 as a little optical shop in Rochester, New York, founded by the German immigrant’s John Jacob Bausch (from Württemberg) and Henry Lomb (from Hesse). First, they produced pince-nez spectacles. When Bausch’s son Edward finished his engineering studies in 1875, he convinced the father to make microscopes. In 1883 the company started making camera lenses, mainly lens types of Carl Zeiss. In 1888 Bausch & Lomb produced the lenses for the Kodak No. 1, the pioneering roll film camera by George Eastman and Frank A. Brownell.
Bausch & Lomb was also a well-respected manufacturer of leaf shutters. Bausch & Lomb’s “Unicum” shutter was one of the best shutters of its time. Initially, the company co-operated extensively with German optics and glassmakers, but from 1913 onwards, the company started making its optical glass. A lot of optical instruments and other optical goods were already in the company’s portfolio. Still, camera lenses were made until the 1930s, especially for Kodak. Later photo-optical products became a smaller part of the company’s focus, leaving just movie projector lenses and movie camera lenses. For example, the special lenses for the widescreen format “Cinemascope” film were made by B&L. A late highlight of the company’s still-camera optics were the lenses for the cameras of the “Surveyor” lunar probes in 1965.