Jason Clarke Antiques

Opticians Spectacle Lens Display by Busch AG, Rathenow Germany


For sale an Estonian optician’s spectacle lens advertising display for Busch AG, Rathenow, Germany.

This interesting display from the 1920’s is comprised of a leather hinged case with a hinged photo frame type stand to the reverse. The glass framed lid is opened by means of two catches to the base with a fitted red felt interior containing six original Busch spectacle lenses. Each lens is named to the outer edge with the felt interior overprinted in gilt with the Busch name and the name of the optician, “August Amos, Tallin” printed to the base.

An unusual piece of advertising with original specimens of the Busch company’s output from the early part of the Twentieth Century.  

Emil Busch (1820 – 1888) is renowned for his work in optics and also 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 optics 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 style, the display is likely to date from about 1915 onwards.

Circa 1920.

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