Jason Clarke Antiques

Early Twentieth Century Cased Hand Held Prism by Emil Busch


For sale, a cased hand held prism by Emil Busch, Germany.

This simple and tactile instrument is comprised of a machine turned handle with a glass prism contained in a black painted metal surround with the maker’s mark of “Busch” and company logo impressed to the back.

Emil Busch (1820 – 1888) is perhaps more renowned for his pioneering work within the field of photography and more specifically with camera lenses. Having inherited the scientific instrument business of his uncle, Johann Heinrich August Duncker in 1845, Busch took a specific interest in the fledgling science of photography and by 1852 began the manufacture of cameras from his base in Rathenow, Germany. In 1865, Busch patented the “Pantoskop” lens, the first to correct the issue of spherical aberration in camera lenses and garnered a strong working relationship with the equally famous Zeiss company. The pair are considered to have formed a near monopoly on the market during the period.

Such was their success that in 1872 the company was floated on the stock market as Emil Busch AG and the strong relationship with Zeiss eventually lead to the latter becoming a majority shareholder in the company by the late 1920’s whereafter they ceased making lenses and concentrated on the production of cameras.

During the Second World War, Busch became the state owned, Rathenower Optische Werke GmbH and were finally consumed into Carl Zeiss Jena.

Owing to the logo appearing on the back of the prism, the prism dates from the early part of the twentieth century. Circa 1900 – 1920.

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