Leicagraph - Leica IIIa
Old 02-10-2019   #1
Davidhel
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Leicagraph - Leica IIIa

Hi all

This Leica IIIa might not appeal to everyone and the engraving isn't military.. However, it does provide quite an interesting history especially for those of us in Australia!

I recently picked this up and was intrigued by the engraving after Leica, to give 'Leicagraph' (with Melb written underneath). A quick search came up with this exhibition that is currently on in Sydney...

https://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/s...snapshot-craze

I think this camera was used at the Melbourne branch of Leicagraph on Flinders Lane which opened in 1935 (the same year this camera was made). I had no idea that anything like this ever took place and that this camera could well be connected with this company!

It's had a hard life and some interesting adjustments (check the rangefinder arm for starters...) but I reckon I can get it up and running again over the coming months

Fingers crossed : )

LEICAGRAPH- Leica IIIa by David Helmore, on Flickr

LEICAGRAPH- Leica IIIa by David Helmore, on Flickr

LEICAGRAPH- Leica IIIa by David Helmore, on Flickr

LEICAGRAPH- Leica IIIa by David Helmore, on Flickr
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Old 02-10-2019   #2
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Dang, that looks like it had a hard working life.

Hopefully getting it to working condition won't require too much work. Good luck
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Old 02-10-2019   #3
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Yep!... itís well used and looks like itís been sat around for a very long time... Iím not going to know the full extent of the work until I start stripping it down in a few weeks...

Hereís some more info about Leicagraph

https://trove.nla.gov.au/list?id=98348

In the Sydney office alone they employed 25 photographers on the street who were using around 550 films each week in the 1930/40 period..
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Old 02-11-2019   #4
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A very nice camera. Great to see one that tells a story. Many will tell you that 'condition is all' but this one transcends that!
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Old 02-11-2019   #5
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That's really cool that you found out the history behind that camera.

Reading about the "THE STREET SNAPSHOT CRAZE" reminds me of what happened in the States back in the 1970's during the "Jim Fix Running Craze". Photographers used to line up on the running courses and take pics of the runners as they came by. Then they would get your address from the race registration and mail you a little 35mm contact print, with an address where you could send them like $10 and they would print and send you a 5x7 of you running the race. I wonder if they got that idea from your mates in Australia, Dave?

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Old 02-11-2019   #6
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It has " PATINA" !

To use a current euphemism that is popular these days to describe old clunky beater cars in a good light, instead of saying what they really are..rusted out pieces of worn out junk that belong in the scrap yard.
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Old 02-11-2019   #7
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Super Cool! Thanks for Sharing!
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Old 02-11-2019   #8
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that's freaking cool. I really dig that the vulcanite is so worn that it's almost completely smooth. Cameras this beat seem to be way more rare than mint ones.

best of luck getting 'er up and running again!
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Old 02-11-2019   #9
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Thanks all! Canít wait to get it up and running again!

From what Ive discovered, Leicagraph started in Sydney but I found out this info online in a newspaper archive around when the Melbourne studio started. I think that C21 refers to camera 21. There are also the remains of a name on the baseplate but itís too far gone to read....

24/5/35

Leicagraph Pty Ltd - to acquire the business of photographers carried on under the style of Leicagraph Co. Capital 5000 pounds.
Directors: Joseph Harold Mackliss and Mildred Mackliss, 210 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
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Old 02-11-2019   #10
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wonderful find!
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Old 02-11-2019   #11
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It's a pity film cameras don't have a frame-ometer, Dave, as I suspect that one's shot a lot. If you pull the pressure plate out and take a look at that it may give a clue by the depth of the film transport path. An auto electrician was looking at my old BMW bike's alternator and guessed it had done more than 300,000 kilometres by the depth of the grooves on the commutator.
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Old 02-19-2019   #12
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Great find - I have always loved cameras with a history. Looking forward to see the progress of the project. You've done a few Barnack resurrections already, so I guess you aren't diving in the deep end.
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Old 02-21-2019   #13
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Hoping to have a look inside over the weekend. I think it’s going to be quite a project... but I love a challenge!! Compared to the last 3a I did there is a lot more of it there to start with!!
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Old 02-28-2019   #14
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Iíve started the restoration process. Having some trouble removing the winder (after set screw removal) so I ordered a wrench to hopefully get things moving!

The three things that stand out straight away are the missing cog next to the winder cog (luckily this was loose in the camera), upside down rangefinder arm and a strange additional spring added to the winder! I think this was added as an attempted previous failed repair...

The curtains will have to be replaced too as the first appears perished and stuck..

This will keep me busy for a while...

IMG_8987 by David Helmore, on Flickr

IMG_8988 by David Helmore, on Flickr
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Old 02-28-2019   #15
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Good to see that you got yourself started. Looking forward to see what you find along the way ... I am sure you get it up and running.
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Old 02-28-2019   #16
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That is a great camera! I love the engraving, and what an interesting story.
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Old 03-01-2019   #17
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Since you suspect someone attempted to repair it sometime before. Do all the serial numbers match? When I took my IIIa apart there were engravings on the inner body with the serial numbers.
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Old 03-01-2019   #18
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I suspect that is not an additional spring but rather the spring clutch for the wind on that has been "toasted". Likely by someone who insisted that the wind knob is supposed to rotate counterclockwise to advance film. Some ham-fisted ***: "How could that work if you wind clockwise?" I had a Canon IIF that had that same problem created by the same kind of person doing just what I described.
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Old 03-02-2019   #19
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Thanks all! That spring is certainly strange... luckily I have a spare Leica one that came with a bag of original parts a couple of years back...

Serial numbers all match too which is great... hoping to have a better look at the mechanism over the next few days when I remove the curtain guards.
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Old 06-06-2019   #20
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IMG_9373 Leica IIIa "Leicagraph" after restoration
by David Helmore, on Flickr
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Old 06-06-2019   #21
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Aha - it is alive once again, then.
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Old 06-06-2019   #22
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So it might not look that different on the outside, but the inside is a very different story! Here's the main issues that I had to tackle...

The film advance spring needed to be replaced
A cog and screw had been removed near the film advance. The cog was present, but the screw had gone
The curtains were totally perished, and the ribbons for the first curtain were missing
The rangefinder arm had been installed upside down
The slow speeds spring had been modified with a section of card
The slow speeds were very erratic
The top plate had been slightly dented under the film speed dial so the speeds could not be set beyond 1/100 with the top plate on
The rangefinder mirror had no contrast

All this has now been fixed (although the slow speeds just need a bit more work!). It was great to have a couple of other Leica's I could compare with when things got a bit hard! The main issue for this camera was just how dirty and neglected it was. That's what I love about old Leica's - with a bit of time, care and patience some of the very worst ones can be bought back from the dead and given a whole new lease of life!

Now to shoot some film....
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Old 06-06-2019   #23
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It is!.... finally...
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Old 06-07-2019   #24
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That's definitely one of the coolest Leicas I've ever seen, congratulations on getting that thing running again!
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Old 06-08-2019   #25
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That's the best part about those old mechanical cameras (and a lot of other mechanical things). Congratulations.


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Old 06-08-2019   #26
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Please share some of the results from the first roll. Perhaps you could take it out, get some kids to pose, and then sell the prints to the parents? In this day and age, just asking something like that would probably get a visit from the morals cops.
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Old 06-21-2019   #27
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Thanks all for your comments - much appreciated..

I'm doing a few more tweaks, but here are a couple from the first film


836-017 Black Rock 2019 WKD RED
by David Helmore, on Flickr


836-014 Black Rock 2019 WKD RED
by David Helmore, on Flickr
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