Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/07/30

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: Lens Designs and history- the other take
From: "Dan Post" <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 12:11:24 -0400

Wasn't Newton who said that if he had seen further, it was because he had
stood on the shoulders of giants? All human endeavors, science especially,
involve the replication, and duplication of results, and as far back as you
care to go, any advance has been achieved largely because someone begged,
borrowed or stole an idea, and eventually it was improved upon. With some
things, Leica lenses, for example, the improvement are at this point so
asymptotically (sic?) small, that only Erwin Puts can tell them apart
( N.B. -  :o}~ )!!

The hammer is a good example- I stole the idea of the curved ax handle, and
made a hammer handle so my wrist wouldn't be so severely flexed, and despite
a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis (carpenter's?) elbow, I
could continue to putter and build to my hearts content- painlessly.

Man is an innovator and an adaptor; we may not condone it, and we may even
eschew it, but it is a fact of life, and human nature. I am sure that
whosoever builds a better mousetrap, is going to anger the original builder
of the mousetrap for 'stealing' the idea.

- ----- Original Message -----
From: Kotsinadelis, Peter (Peter) <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 1999 11:32 PM
Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: Lens Designs and history

> Marc,
> What I have said was from Kingslake's book "Lenses in Photography."  I
> read it (many times) and use it as a reference.  You are welcome to check
> out what I said, its in there.
> As to thievery, well 100 years later we can argue with what Rudolph and
> others did but its long gone and they are too so they can't defend
> themselves. The Zeiss folks did borrow design ideas and reworked them.
> Geniuses or not, they "borrowed" and did not always invent regardless of
> label you apply.  OTOH, the the Japanese did borrow and duplicate many
> designs.  Later they also improved them.  If you look at some of the
> and Konica lenses you'll find some are modified Symmar's, which by the way
> was a Schneider design whose idea was borrowed from the Zeiss Biogon,
> was derived from earlier work by Zeiss and non-Zeiss companies.
> Peter K
> > ----------
> > From: Marc James Small[]
> > Reply To:
> > Sent: Thursday, July 29, 1999 5:04 PM
> > To:
> > Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: Lens Designs and history
> >
> > At 03:13 PM 7/29/99 -0700, Peter Kotsinadelis wrote:
> > >
> > >Everybody copies everybody else. Zeiss did used Taylor's triplet design
> > to
> > >conceive their Tessar and also the early work of Goerz (Dagor).  The
> > Protar
> > >(originally called the Anastigmat) used the design of H. Schroeder's
> > >Concentric lens (1888 made by Ross in England) combined with
> > >Rapid Rectinlinear design.
> >
> > Peter
> >
> > You have the late Dr Kingslake spinning rapidly in his final resting
> > place.
> >  Please read his books, where he discusses the history of the Tessar
> > designs.
> >
> > What you are discussing is the evolution of one design in the hands of a
> > competent optical scientist.  Rudolph DID work from the designs of
> > but he improved upon them through his own genius in formulating the
> > Tessar.
> >
> > What the Japanese did was to make EXACT copies -- that is, they took a
> > given Zeiss or Leitz lens, disassembled it, and made an exact copy.  No
> > new
> > science, no new engineering, just blind and bloody theft.  Precisely of
> > the
> > sort that Voigtlander had used when they stole the Petzval design.
> >
> > The Japanese optical industry was quite vibrant, of course, and within a
> > decade had evolved these designs into new shapes.  But they didn't pay,
> > then or later, one red cent to either Zeiss or Leitz for the free use
> > made of their designs.  These lenses were all protected by patent
> > as were the camera designs and the lens mount designs and the
> > designs and so forth.  Didn't matter to the Japanese:  they just stole
> > away, happy as bloody moonshiners at a hot mash party, delighting in the
> > knowledge that the Allied Control Commission had ruled that German
> > companies could not protect their patent rights in Japan.  Period.
> >
> > Allow me to draw a parallel of more than passing interest to some on the
> > LUG.  We have actively discussed here over the life of this forum the
> > copyright protection which ought to be afforded photographs taken by
> > professional photographers.  Well, the situation in Japan from 1945 to
> > 1954
> > was as if the Japanese had been allowed to print copyrighted pictures
> > by, say, Stieglitz or Adams or Bresson and sell them in the world market
> > without paying royalties.  Now, that would bring shock and horror to
> > LUG'ers.  And the patents of Zeiss and Leitz were as much theirs as the
> > photographs of Adams were his.
> >
> > Thievery is thievery.  We call successful crooks, "sir", and respect
> > for their craftiness.  And, for their thieveries, I respect Voigtlander
> > and
> > Nikon and Canon.  But I don't have to approve of the thefts themselves.
> > And I do not.
> >
> > Marc
> >
> >  FAX:  +540/343-7315
> > Cha robh bas fir gun ghras fir!
> >