Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,380 pages of information and 211,458 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

R. and J. Beck

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June 1901.
July 1901.
May 1903.
c1906. Rosenheim designed microscope .
September 1912.
1926. Beck Baby London Microscope.
1927. Achromatic Object Glasses.
1928. Beck Pathological Microscope.
1928. Beck Spectroscopes.

of 69 Mortimer Street, London, W1. Telephone: Museum 9696. Cables: "Objective, Wesdo, London"

R and J Beck was a renowned British optical company based in London.

1843 founded by the nephews of J. J. Lister, Richard Beck and Joseph Beck who were in partnership with a famous instrument maker, James Smith (d. 1870) as Smith and Beck.

1851 James Smith and Richard Beck exhibited at the 1851 exhibition[1]

1852 Listed as Smith and Beck, opticians and microscope ma. 6 Coleman Street, City [2]

1854 the company was renamed as Smith, Beck and Beck.

1861 Employing 40 men, and 35 boys and girls [3]

1865 Smith retired; the company became R. and J. Beck.

1884 Listed under Opticians and as Philosophical Instrument Makers as Beck, R and J., 68 Cornhill Street. Manufactory, Lister Works, Holloway Road, N. [4]

1910 Exhibited microscopes and the Spinthariscope, invented by Sir William Crookes to demonstrate "radium energy"[5]

WWI Produced a wide range of optical products: microscopes, telescopes, trench periscopes for army officers, eye test glasses for opticians (optometer lenses), other optical equipment, and last not least camera lenses and some cameras.

Best known in the camera area are some cameras of the brand Ensign which bear lenses branded as "Beck Ensign".

T. E. Lawrence, better known as 'Lawrence of Arabia', used a plate camera made by Beck.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Microscopes and Accessories, Spectroscopes, Photographic Lenses, Opaque Projectors, Sound Recording Apparatus, Optical Units, Lenses, Prisms, Flats in Glass, Quartz, Iceland Spar and Flurospar, Magnifiers, Specialised Optical Instruments. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1084) [6]

By 1968 was a subsidiary of Ealing Corporation of USA[7]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1851 Great Exhibition: Official Catalogue: Class X.: James Smith and Richard Beck
  2. 1852 Post Office London Directory (Small Edition)
  3. 1861 Census
  4. 1884 Business Directory of London
  5. The Times, Dec 21, 1910
  6. 1947 British Industries Fair p26
  7. The Times, Oct 15, 1968
  • Camerapedia [1]