Old English wooden enlarger for 6×8 inch glass plates

Old English wooden enlarger for glass plates

Just came across this old photo of mine. Looking more like a guillotine this was my first large format enlarger. It is an old English wooden enlarger for glass plates purchased 25 years ago just outside Launceston, Tasmania.

Made for glass plates up to about 6×8 inches, with two heavy window weights to counterbalance raising the head, brass gearing, fittings and lens. The light source (missing in pic) was a metal box with 5 globes and diffusing glass. Must have got damn hot. I replaced it with a Zone VI cold light head and stabiliser with a 180mm Schneider Componon-S lens. I made exactly 2 16×20 prints from 4×5 negatives before realising I had a major problems with edge to edge sharpness from lens board misalignment which I could not repair. Wood borers had created a bow in the enlarger.

After 12 months or so of hiking around Tasmania’s central highlands I came home to Perth with this old monster in the back of my old station wagon. I boxed it up and gave it to a friend to live out its remaining days in his camera museum. You may come across my old English wooden enlarger one day.

One Reply

  • Have had a similar scale wooden enlarger given to me by the grandson of Curtis Moffat. He used it in the 20s/30s. Would love to know more about its use. The V&A were offered it at the time of their exhibition of his work – they had to say no because of its size.

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