Main -> Photography -> Classic Cameras -> Large Format -> Siegfried Wachtl Wien [sitemap]

Created 21 October 2005 ... Updated 16 February 2006

Camera from Foto Siegfried Wachtl Siegfried Wachtl Wien

Wachtl was, and still is, a camera shop in Vienna, Austria. They used to have an own customer magazine, the Pho-Pro-Ki - PHOtographie, PROjektion und KInematographie - which was renamed into Kamera-Kunst in 1929. The current shop is located on the Graben (major shopping street in Vienna's city center) and quite small but they still sell many expensive camera brands. In the 1920s they must have been a major camera outfit as they sold cameras under their own brand name. Unfortunately I don't know who produced their cameras but I may be able to find out reading their customer magazine.

Pho-Pro-Ki, Siegfried Wachtl
Early 2006 I was contacted by the great-grandson of Siegfried Wachtl who had some questions about this camera and also provided me with some "Wachtl Company" information. This background information makes the camera even more interesting.

David Wachtl and Alexander Eisenschiml founded a photo shop in Vienna in the early 1870s, "Eisenschiml & Wachtl" (sometimes written as "Eisenschimmel & Wachtl"). David's son Siegfried later had his own shop which expanded to several shops in Vienna in the 1920s. Cameras were sold under both "Wachtl" and "Siwa" brandnames but they seem to be white labeled items and the real manufacturer is yet unknown.
Kamera-Kunst, Siegfried Wachtl
By some strange coincidence I once came across a bound edition of Siegfried Wachtl customer magazines, the forenamed "Pho-Pro-Ki" and "Kamera-Kunst". The Kamera-Kunst magazine actually started as an independent arts magazine long before but disappeared shortly after the first world war. Only the name was being used by Siegfried Wachtl from January 1929. Not only give these magazines an insight of the cameras and accessories being sold in the 1920s but it also shows that Amateur Home Cinema was started to be promoted. New cameras and projectors for the 8 and 9.5mm formats, different models and different versions ranging from fairly inexpensive (hand driven) to moderately expensive. The equipment could later be upgraded using different options and accessories.

Of course during the 1920s there was also the great depression and people were still recovering from that by 1928, not everyone had the money to spend on expensive hobbies such as photography and cinematography. Therefore Wachtl had an offer in the line of "buy now, pay later". When you would pay half in cash during your purchase and you would then be allowed to pay the remaining half within three months and you would not have to pay any interest. When you wanted to pay the item in 6 or 12 months, you would have to pay some interest. But before you were allowed to buy on rates, you would have to prove that you had a secure job.
Foto Siegfried Wachtl - Ratenzahlung

Type  :  Folding Glass Plate Camera
Manufactured  :  1920s or 1930s
Lens  :  G. Rodenstock München, Doppel Anastigmat Eurynar 1:4,5 f=10,5 cm No 378187
Compur  :  Z, D, M, I, B, T - 1 , 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250
Cable release  :  standard release
Film Type  :  Plate holders 7 x 12 cm
    Glass plates for 6 x 9 plates
    120 Roll Film with "Rollex Rollfilm Kassette"
Negative Size  :  6 x 8 cm
Bellows  :  does not seem to be real leather
Special  :  Spirit level
Mirror finder
Sports finder
Ground glass
Distance scale
Left-right shift
Up-down shift
Accessories  :  Patent Rollfilm Kassetten Rollex
Velvet-lined leather case
Yellow snap-on filter
Home-made dark cloth
Camera from Foto Siegfried Wachtl

All photos copyright of M. Koning 1997 - 2006

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