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The partnership of Lejeune and Perken was founded in 1852 by T. Lejeune and Louis Edmond Perken.[1][2][3] The firm was dissolved at the end of 1873:[4] it was described in the dissolution notice as an importer of optical instruments, with the address 24 Hatton Garden, London; however, Lejeune and Perken seem to have made some equipment.[5] The business was continued in partnership with Arthur Rayment as Perken, Son and Rayment (Channing & Dunn give the date of this company as 1887, a few years after Lejeune and Perken separated.[1] The London Gazette carried a notice stating that this partnership, described as manufacturers and importers of optical and scientific instruments, was dissolved by mutual consent at the end of 1889.[6] However, this seems to have been a formality, marking the transfer of the company to a new generation in the Perken family. The partnership reported as dissolved was that of Louis Edmond Perken and Frederic Louis Perken with Arthur Rayment. The London Gazette carried another notice, reporting the dissolution of Perken Son and Rayment 'by effluxion of time' (that is, the partnership agreement had run its stated course) at the end of 1899. The partnership dissolved this time was that of Frederic Louis Perken, Edgar Theodore Perken and Arthur Rayment.[7] The business was continued as Perken, Son and Company, still at 99 Hatton Garden. This company held a patent relating to thermometers;[8] patents were filed in the 1950s by the company Heath, Hicks and Perken (thermometers) Ltd. of Eltham;[9][10] it seems likely that Hicks was the company of James J. Hicks, also originally of Hatton Garden.[11] Heath, Hicks and Perken appears to have been wound up in 1979.[12]

Louis Edmond Perken died in 1907.[13]

Originally just an importer, the company became a maker of cameras, lenses and other photographic equipment, including studio and darkroom apparatus. The company also made magic lanterns and accessories, telescopes, binoculars, surveying and other scientific equipment.[14][15]

The company used the brand name Optimus for a great many of its products, including cameras, lenses and magic lanterns.


All the lenses were sold with the Optimus brand

  • Rapid Euryscope f/6, in sizes from 5½ inch (to cover a 4x5 inch plate) to 18 inch (to cover 10x12 inch);
  • Wide-angle Euryscope f/9.5, in sizes from 4 inch (covering a 4x5 inch plate) to 10 inch (covering 10x12 inch);
  • Portable Symmetrical f/16
  • Rapid Rectilinear f/8, in sizes from 5½ inch (to cover 4x5 inch) to 25 inch (covering 16x18 inch);
  • Rapid Landscape f/11, in sizes fom 5½ inch (to cover 4x5 inch) to 18 inch (covering 10x12 inch);
  • Portrait lens (aperture not stated, but the catalogue engraving shows it with an f/4 Waterhouse stop);
British companies
Adams & Co. | Agilux | Aldis | APeM | Aptus | Artima | Barnet Ensign | Beard | Beck | Benetfink‎ | Billcliff | Boots | British Ferrotype | Butcher | Chapman | Cooke | Corfield | Coronet | Dallmeyer | Dekko | De Vere | Dixons | Dollond | Elliott | Gandolfi | Gnome | Griffiths | G. Hare | Houghtons | Houghton-Butcher | Hunter | Ilford | Jackson | Johnson | Kentmere | Kershaw-Soho | Kodak Ltd. | Lancaster | Lejeune and Perken | Lizars | London & Paris Optic & Clock Company | Marion | Marlow | Meagher | MPP | Neville | Newman & Guardia | Pearson and Denham | Perken, Son and Company | Perken, Son & Rayment | Photopia | Purma | Reid & Sigrist | Reynolds and Branson | Ross | Ross Ensign | Sanderson | Sands & Hunter | Shackman | Shew | Soho | Standard Cameras Ltd | Taylor-Hobson | Thornton-Pickard | Underwood | United | Watkins | Watson | Wynne's Infallible | Wray


  1. 1.0 1.1 Channing, Norman and Dunn, Mike. British Camera Makers. An A-Z Guide to Companies and Products. London : Parkland Designs, 1996. ISBN 0-9524630-0-8 pp 72-73 and 99-101.
  2. McKeown also dates the start of the firm to 1852, citing the company's later advertisements, which claim this date.
  3. Company information at Early Photography state that the earliest reference found to Lejeune and Perken is from 1854, suggesting perhaps that Perken began alone.
  4. The London Gazette, 23 January 1874 Issue 24056, p 311, at The Gazette.
  5. Optimus 8x10-inch Rapid Rectilinear lens engraved 'Manufactured by Lejeune & Perken for M. W. Dunscombe, Bristol', sold at the auction Sale 4406 - Cameras and Optical Toys on 19 September 1991 by Christie's (no picture of the lens).
  6. The London Gazette, 28 January 1890, Issue 26018, p 503-4.
  7. The London Gazette, 12 January 1900, Issue 27153, p 237.
  8. British Patent 17408 of 1911, Improvements in or relating to dividing engines or machines for marking thermometer tubes or for the like purposes, granted to Edgar Theodore Perken and Perken, Son & Co. Ltd., at the European Patent Office's Espacenet database.
  9. Patents held by Heath, Hicks and Perken relating to thermometer making, listed at Espacenet.
  10. Advertisements in The Chemist and Druggist, 26 March 1955, including one by Heath, Hicks and Perken, who use Perken's trade-name 'Optimus' in their telegram address.
  11. James J. Hicks entry at Grace's Guide to British Industrial History.
  12. The London Gazette, 17 November 1978, Issue 47690, p 13797 (second column), giving notice of companies that will be wound up under the Companies Act after a further three months.
  13. The London Gazette, 18 June 1907, Issue 28031, p 4210.
  14. 'A Fellow of the Chemical Society' (about 1890) Beginner's Guide to Photography, published by Perken, Son & Rayment, at The Internet Archive. Much of this short book (starting page 107) is advertisements for Perken, Son & Rayment's lanterns, slides and accessories, cameras, lenses, telescopes and binoculars, spectacles, barometers and thermometers.
  15. 'A Fellow of the Chemical Society' (1890) The Magic Lantern: its Construction and Use, published by Perken, Son & Rayment. Archived at the Internet Archive. 82 pages of editorial content, and 58 pages of advertising for the company's products (more-or-less identical to the material in the above-cited book).