-------------- Original message from David Sadowski <dsadowski@xxxxxxxxx>: --------------
> Looking at the Torkel Korling patent jogged my memory a bit. Looks
> like his original SLR patent inspired others that might have delayed
> the development of the Japanese SLR in the late 1950s.
> It is probably no accident that the Nikon F did not appear until 1959,
> and so on, as the Japanese were waiting for certain important patents
> to expire that were needed in a modern 35mm SLR.
> Via Google Patent Search, I see that Folmer Graflex took out some
> additional patents on the auto diaphragm around 1940. In other words,
> these were related to the research and development of the Super D,
> which appeared in 1941 (at least in 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 format; 4x5 in
> US Patent 2,236,925 improves on TK's earlier one by providing for
> interchangeable lenses. Patent 2,273,386 relates to the mirror and
> diaphragm. Patents 2,365,899 and 2,308,725 seem to be for flash
> synch; I don't know if these relate to later SLR development, since
> rangefinder cameras certainly had flash synch before these patents
> Interestingly, Patent 2,365,899 anticipates the invention being used
> in a "miniature," i.e. a 35mm camera.
> Torkel Korling was a top commercial and industrial photographer (later
> nature too ) who had at least one Life cover. I think it is of a
> crowing rooster, and he managed to talk them out of putting the Life
> logo on the cover for the first and only time, since he thought it
> would spoil the composition.
> Years ago, I saw an exhibit of photos taken during construction of the
> Johnson Wax complex in Racine, which was designed by Frank Lloyd
> Wright. Torkel Korling was the official photographer.
> He designed and patented what later became the Tiltall tripod,
> although once again, I doubt he ever made very much money for this.
> When I saw him, he was peddling his third and last invention, some
> sort of rotating camera mount that unfortunately had little practical
> He was looking for a business partner who would bankroll his
> invention, market it, and pay him a royalty. I doubt he ever found
> such a partner. His earlier patents were assigned to the Folmer
> Graflex Co., then probably the major manufacturer of professional
> cameras in the US.
> We discussed his philosophical approach to shooting and contrasted it
> with the modern method, which he disdained. In the old days, he said,
> film was relatively expensive. So, he would carefully set up his
> master shot and take one or two pictures at the most.
> Once he knew he got what he wanted, he was done.
> The modern method was almost the exact opposite- shoot hundreds of
> photos without a clear idea, in hopes that something usable will turn
> up in the bunch.
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