This Unusual Lens was Used at the Nevada Test Site in the 1950s

Could this 1000mm Cyclotar lens have been used to document bomb experiments?

Today’s awesome vintage find on ebay is something for collectors with a taste for rarity and curiosity for military history. You definitely don’t see a 1000mm 40-inch f/8 Cyclotar lens spring up from the depths of ebay everyday! What exactly is this curious-looking item? Well, there’s not much info out there other than what ebay seller brcamera has provided. This rare Cyclotar lens was made by Alan Gordon Enterprises for the US government in the 1950s. It was used at the Nevada Test Site for documenting testing activities (we’re definitely itching to know what kind) from the 1950s to the 1970s. It was especially constructed around a 40-inch Bausch + Lomb f/8 Telestigmat lens and was equipped on a Crown Graphic 4×5.

According to a former photographer at the test site, after atmospheric testing ended, the Cyclotar lens was used to record “line of site” testing experiments underground. Again, that certainly sparks greater curiosity. What’s with the Pan Am logo on the barrel, you ask? The iconic airline was reportedly under contract in the 1960s to “provide photographic services” at the test site. We could only guess at this point, but that most likely meant the lens and camera were mounted on Pan Am planes for aerial photography during testing activities.

The Cyclotar lens in the listing was actually part of a private collector’s museum, which explains why its mounted on a metal base. It was reportedly on display in the last 25 years. If you’re curious enough to want to use it, you’d have to take it off the mount and have it serviced first. If this lens has tickled your fancy, you can buy it now for US $9,500. Go ahead and check out the ebay listing to find out more and add this lens to your vintage gear collection.