Save & earn with MPB; trade-in and buy pre-loved

Identification Required

27 Jun 2022 1:20PM
Hi everyone. I wonder if there is anyone out there who can help with the following. A friend has been clearing her late fathers house and discovered a 35mm enlarger in a wooden box. I've taken a pic of it, so you can see what I'm talking about. As you can see, the enlarger has the well known name of Wray embossed on to the arm, but as far as I know, Wray made enlarger lenses plus a couple of film cameras and the only enlarger I recall was made for them by Johonson of Hendon. This is a lot smaller and packs into the wooden case, which I'm not sure was actually professionally made as it has a home made appearance. I've approached a couple of museums to see if they can help, but the more the merrier as my granny used to say. If anyone has an idea, then I'd be delighted to hear it.
Many thanks
Martin. 261356_1656332404.jpg
altitude50 18 22.7k United Kingdom
27 Jun 2022 3:14PM
I would guess that this is a fairly rare portable enlarger for 35mm, Possibly 12v D.C.
There is a piece of 35mm film inside on the left. I would not be sure about the home made box as there is a letter W stamped on the edge.
What are the two small sockets on the right opening for? The bottom one seems to be connected to a brass terminal next to the long black rectangular object. Is that a battery case?.
What is intriguing about this is the narrow lamp housing, top right indicating a low voltage.low heat bulb. the film holder 'troughs' would also indicate use for 35mm flim. Is the square black box top left a transformer for 240 to 12 volt use or a timer? Seems to be part of the wooden case.
Also could the top, inside or bottom of the box be where the paper is held and the image is projected on to?

Nice item.

I once had a Russian enlarger which packed into a box which also was the easel!

I have a photo of a Johnson Wray enlarger for 35mm negatives in a Wallace Heaton Blue Book of 1961-1962 but the lamp housing, bracket and column are different.

28 Jun 2022 10:14AM
Thanks for the reply. Interestingly, while I was doing yet another search for this, I found something in Brazil, showing this enlarger with a Wrayflex 1A from 1950/51 so I guess this enlarger was produced around the same time. Also, it showed the box and you're right, it's not homemade. It's a 240v unit, the plug shows that it would have been connected via a light socket - not uncommon in those days - although I wouldn't want to try it without a complete replacement of the cabling given how brittle it is. So, I'll continue the hunt and see what happens.
Again, many thanks for the reply.
Jestertheclown 13 8.7k 255 England
28 Jun 2022 10:46AM

Quote:I wouldn't want to try it without a complete replacement of the cabling given how brittle it is.

My grandparents had all manner of electrical stuff powered from light sockets as there were no plug sockets in the house.
More worryingly, said power was direct, as opposed to, alternating, current.
I don't know but that might just be relevant here.
altitude50 18 22.7k United Kingdom
28 Jun 2022 1:16PM
I have had a good look round on the internet. What I found was that Wray were making stuff for the RAF before,during and after WW2 perhaps the enlarger was made small & light for easy transportation.
Also it would be worth looking at the bulb to see if there are markings on it. I still think that a transformer might be involved.


Wrayflex 1 cameras used a frame size of 24mm x 32mm, is the mask in the enlarger head that size?

I also found the words 'Wray Detective' somewhere but do not know what that refers to.
RichardN00 Plus
16 434 1 United Kingdom
29 Jun 2022 12:03PM

I also found the words 'Wray Detective' somewhere but do not know what that refers to.

Wasn't 'Detective Camera' a generic name for any small format camera at one time?

Carabosse Plus
19 42.5k 270 England
29 Jun 2022 12:44PM

Quote:Wasn't 'Detective Camera' a generic name for any small format camera at one time?

I think it was applied to 35mm film cameras when what we would now call large format cameras were the norm for photography.
29 Jun 2022 6:21PM
Hi everyone. I'm pretty sure that the "detective camera" was originally what we might know as the "vest pocket" and was eventually carried over to the 35mm format, reserving "spy camera" for the likes of the 16mm sub minature Minox and the like. As far as the RAF and Wray go, I believe that Wray used to make the optics for the reconnaissance cameras, rather than making things like enlargers. I've not examined the mask in the enlarger to determine whether it's the 24x32 size or not. Neither have I checked the lens, a mistake I'll rectify as soon as I can, because that could tell me a little more. I'm about to send the info to a photographic auctioneer to see if they can shed any light. Once again, thanks for the interest.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.