Leica 1(C)

Leica 1(C)

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The first Leica with interchangeable lenses was introduced in 1930. These early Leica 1(C) models are known as non- standardized cameras.
The camera kit case bears a label "Property of Thomas T. Hoopes" who graduated from Harvard in 1919. He was director of the City Art Museum in St. Louis for twenty-five years. He is best known today for setting up a fund at Harvard to award annual prizes for outstanding scholarly work or research.
The camera body is equipped with a threaded flange, 39mm in diameter, that became known as the Leica screw or L39 mount. At first each interchangeable lens had to be individually matched to the body and each bore the complete camera serial number, but later only the last three digits were engraved on each lens. By the end of 1930 a standardized lens mount had been devised and all lenses could be made to fit any Leica 1(C) from serial number 65,001 onwards. However, many of the earlier non-standardized Leica cameras were converted to standard mount versions by Leitz for their owners.
The requirement to match lenses and bodies on non-standardized Leicas means that the camera was usually sold as a kit with two or three matching lenses and other accessories.
Leica 1(C) serial no. 46738 would have originally been an early non- standardized camera. However, like many non-standardized cameras it has at some point been converted to a standard mount. This conversion is indicated by the letter O engraved on the lens mount at the 12 o’clock position just below the serial number.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Other Terms
rollfilm; hand; miniature; rigid body
date made
Ernst Leitz
place made
Germany: Hesse, Wetzlar
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
serial number
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Work and Industry: Photographic History
Leica Cameras
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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The Leica 1 model C is a more realistic purchase from the point of view of price. It enables one to purchase a camera and lens combination from the earliest days of Leica. The Leica 1 model A with fixed lens is quite expensive, especially the black ones showing considerable wear. However, one must admit that they have an attraction. The English word is "patina" and we do tend to insert this word, into descriptions of desirable items such as these old Leicas.

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