The Bender Story

The Bender Optical Works in Strawberry House, Leazes Park (Newcastle Upon Tyne) is noted in the 1960 edition of ‘The Instrument Manual’* as the operating premises of the company formerly known as M. Bender (Northern) Ltd – makers of analytical instruments.

Several 1963 catalogues show B.O.W (Bender Optical Works Ltd) as the manufacturer of at least the optical components of the Lumaplak range of slide projectors – include the Cool-Lite, Maxilite, Quartzlite and Wonderlite models in 300-Series guises. Evidently these were on the market for long enough to be upgraded to 400-Series, although the primary lens – an 85mm f2.8 triplet – probably only received cosmetic alteration.

Lumaplak – better known as a British manufacturer of projector screens traded by the Lumaplak Screen Co Ltd (founded 1938) – also operated as Lumaplak Photo Sales Ltd as early as 1963 from an Oxford Street HQ in London W1. It’s possible that their collaboration with Bender Optical Works for the production of slide projectors continued until Lumaplak’s demise in 1977.

M. Bender (Northern) Ltd, however, had a production catalogue in 1978, so evidently outlived them, but apparently discontinued production of lenses for slide projectors.

  • * Published by United Trade Press Ltd (1960)

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