Bausch & Lomb Optical Company, Rochester, New York

for the Edison Manufacturing Company, Orange, New Jersey      1896-1905

This 35mm projection lens, probably considered the forerunner of Edison's No. 1, could be found on early Edison motion picture projectors such as the Edison Projecting Kinetoscope Exhibition Model circa 1900 and the slightly later Edison Universal Projecting Kinetoscope of 1905. Having no model number or maker's mark other than "Edison Manufacturing Company, Orange, N.J., U.S.A.", it was no doubt manufactured by the Bausch & Lomb Optical Company of Rochester, New York.  This is based on its construction, as compared with other Bausch & Lomb-marked Edison lenses.  It's complete, other than its missing mounting flange which most likely resides on the Kinetoscope it was separated from. 

The lens focuses by rotating the front-mounted outer barrel ring to move the inner barrel sleeve inward or outward.  The barrel ring engaged a helical slot in the sleeve to effect movement, as opposed to the rack-and-pinion arrangement found on other Bausch & Lomb projection lenses (primary and auxiliary), and those of other makers.  Bausch & Lomb manufactured projection lenses for Edison, Nicholas Power and other companies that manufactured motion picture and lantern slide apparatus.

Other than this example, I've never encountered an Edison lens that wasn't marked Bausch & Lomb Optical Company.  As is the case with Nicholas Power's projection lenses, earlier versions did not carry the Bausch & Lomb name and this may also apply to Edison's lenses as well. 

Several other factors point to this being an earlier lens.  The lens barrel has no serial number, as seen on later Edison Kinetoscope lenses.  A number "181" is found stamped on the rim edge at the mount, and this either the lens' serial number (before serial numbers were moved to the outer barrel?) or possibly the Kinetoscope's serial number that the lens was mounted to (or sold with) originally. Finally, the lens' front element has an integrated lens shade (see photo), versus no lens shade as typically encountered with most Edison Kinetoscope lenses. This all suggests this example to be among the earliest of Kinetoscope lenses, probably placing its manufacture between 1896 and 1900.


A rare, early style of an Edison Kinetoscope lens, almost never seen today.



                                            Serial or machine number (#181) shown on the mount rim at rear



          Above, an Edison No. 1 lens marked Bausch & Lomb and having a barrel ring focus

                                   Edison Manufacturing Lens (left)                     Edison No. 1 lens marked Bausch & Lomb (right)


                                               Later Edison Kinetoscope lens with rack-and-pinion focusing