When collecting lenses for photographic use or simply collecting, one is bound to come across an orphan that just needs to be given a good home after some TLC.
Such was the case when I came across this eBay listing for a Cooke lens. It was clearly a half plate Rapid View or RV lens that had seen better days.
Normally this lens has an iris upfront and it is clear from this image this lens had lost the iris or was "uncorked" during the pictorial days to provide a soft focus look to images.
Equally clear is that this lens had some sort of aperture built in and had seen a few attempts for repair. There was a brass cylinder with a hole in the barrel with three screw holes to hold one and other in place. The diameter in the brass insert was geared towards an F11 aperture.
The image above shows all the elements. The barrel with brass insert, the original TT&H lens flange and the lens cell with single achromat meniscus.
Searching in literature for supporting documentation I came across following catalog page describing the Rapid View and the later Rapid View Portrait.
The Rapid View was the first "landscape" rendition while the Rapid View Portrait or RVP was in principle the same lens with a larger aperture for portrait taking. The RVP would later become the Cooke Achromatic Portrait lens in 1911 with an aperture of F7.5.
So what to do with the butchered orphan ?
I was definitely not going to restrict this lens to F11.3 as the original and I was equally not going to attempt a historic reconstruction. It is my firm belief that restorations have to be identifiable so there's no confusion for the next owner.
After measuring the barrel diameter and looking at the options to fill the screw holes, I came up with the following solution.
The ID of the barrel is 42 mm so I installed a 42-52mm filter adapter and secured this with three black screws/nuts. This serves two purposes. Fill up the holes and secure the adapter ring.
The next step involved installing a modern adjustable iris in the 52mm thread. The chosen iris has also an ID thread of 52mm for optional filters for shooting B&W. Elegant solution. Calculated aperture is F7 and that puts this restoration in the same realm as the RVP or the later Cooke Achromatic Portrait lens.
The majority of my lenses are installed on Sinar lens boards, this one is no exception. Next step, shooting some 4x5 B&W and my Sinar P !