On it's way here from Ebay, a Foth Derby, unknown exact model, Foth had dozen of variants, even interchangeable lenses on the Foth II. I have had one stored away that can be used as spares, or I might get the two going. The usual Foth Derby problem is the shutter cloth, it was rubberised and it flakes off with age. Might need new cloth or paint with flexible fabric paint for minor repairs. German made from 1930, it was unusual in having a focal plane shutter to 1/500th max. It has an original leather case included.
Only nuisance is the 127 film size, so back to slitting up 120 to fit it. I will have to print some new backing papers as well, the old ones are very tired now! Some early models used 24x36 frame instead of the full 127, most are two shot on 127 frame format.
If the focal plane shutter is in running order the the Rollei shop high speed colour film could be used as the shutter has the require high speeds.
The control mechanism for the shutter blinds is usually in running order, it was an advanced design, and was very well made. The lenses came in every make and variants!, plus Foth branded lenses.
The main advertised attraction of the Foth Derby was for action photography, sports and leisure photography. It had a direct British rival, the Ensign Multex, same film size and same shutter, but badly designed and a failure.
I saw this one and considered bidding. I also saw a Derlux, a polished aluminium 'copy' but the shutter was open - pushed through or jammed. The aluminium was white and oxidised. nah! I wish I'd got the Foth Derby. It looks like a fine camera is this the one that does 36x24mm pics on 127?
From the minimalist EBay pictures, featuring more of the leather case than camera, it may well be an early 24x36 version, they still used 127 film of course. Foth altered the details every few months, I suppose due to lens supply problems, and the poor state of German industry at the time, the finish and details altered as well till the type 2, when it settled down a bit.
The shutters are not difficult to service, modern cloth will fit, but needs neat sewing on the edges. The rubberised cloth was meant to minimise edging, being cut, the cloth was bound by the rubber finish.
Other makers lens were also after market fitted, virtually any lens longer than 50mm that focused, could be mounted on the lens panel. They can be fitted with a Leica Elmar 50 mm lens quite easily......
That's about all there is in the shots, the case being there is an advantage, but lets not expect a working shutter, so if it works, a pleasant surprise. I think it is a mid period model, with folder down viewer. They go for about £60 to £80, this one £22, so low expectations, but you never know. Stephen.
It is not a 24x36, they had the flip up Newton finder, the others had the telescope finder on a hinge. slowly reading up on the brand details on the net, much more information than a few years ago. Stephen.
The C.F.Foth company has an interesting history what there is of it. Although it appears to have been founded in 1926, it existed in the most politically tumultuous regions throughout the 1930's. It was located in Danzig within the Polish corridor where the German population eventually forced the annexation by Germany in 1939. CF Foth operated in Berlin as well as Paris producing a variety of products including radio headphones, several models of cameras, and optical equipment such as binoculars.
It's possible to pick up bits and pieces of this company's history on the web but it doesn't yet make a clear story. It does appear that Foth operations moved around coinciding with the fortunes of the Nazis.
I think it would be interesting to contrast the operations of Foth with that of Kochman-Korelle during that era. However, I have not yet learned who C.F.Foth was. The company seems to disappear by 1943-44 after introducing the last version of the Foth Derby.
The French connection appears as Foth & cie, so family company? As you say information on them is very sparse. The main other product was the TLR. If in any way they were supporters of the Nazi party, I would have thought they would have been adsorbed into the Zeiss combine during the 1930's, if they were Polish background then unlikely to be connected to them, but may have disappeared from business in the post war turmoil in Poland.. They were popular in the UK, and had an official importer, Wallace and Heaton. Stephen
I think that Foth was a German living and operating his business in Danzig. Danzig had a very prominent German population. By 1939 it was advisable for German businesses to move. Foth either moved to Berlin about this time, or they had operations already in Berlin, as war broke out in the Danzig corridor. Then the question of whether Foth opened operations in Paris after the Nazis took over.
This was a well known company so I am disappointed that I cannot find any significant historical documents so far.
C.F. Foth & Co., Foth in short. This German optical company operated in Berlin in 1926, first working from premises at Cottbusser Damm 25-26 (–1928), then from Berlin-Britz Grade Straße 91-107 (1928-1932) and finally from Berlin-Buchholz, PankStrasse 1-3 (1932-1940). The relationship of C.F. Foth Berlin to C.F.Foth in Danzig (Gdansk) and C.F. Foth & Cie in Paris is not clear at this point in time and requires further research.
Advert from the net, a German forum says the Danzig works was an ex gun amd munitions factory, later used for Foth Radio production. Binoculars on the net shown Danzig and Berlin models. I wonder if the French end dissapeared into Gallus, who used the shutter design. Stephen
Foth's own lens were considered sharp and contrasty...for the period.....of course.
But they supplied others, Tessars, and even Leitz's Elmar design at one point, although the references could be mistaking after market changes to the lenses, which was easy with the focal plane shutter and a plain lens board.
The other common reference, in discussions about Foth, was to the shutter being quieter than the Leica, it was a good design, and well made, it is only the "tapes" and blinds failing due to age that causes any problem. Many referenced the shutter as the quietest focal plane ever made.