Mr. Charles F. Usener was born on the 2nd of July in 1823. He was a native of the German state of Wurttemberg. Mr. Usener immigrated to America in the 1850s, where he was listed in New York directories as a Daguerreian and Optics manufacturer.
In approximately 1853 Usener began making lens for the newly formed company Holmes, Booth and Haydens. Usener was mentioned in an HB&H advertisement as the superintendence over the manufacture of cameras ( ie. Lenses). This business relationship lasted until about 1865, just prior to the sale of Usener's company.
Usener became a naturalized US citizen on October 12th, 1860.
In April 1866 Willard Manufacturing Company acquired the entire business of Charles F. Usener. At that time Usener was described as the "oldest and most talented optician in the country". Usener continued to work at the Willard Manufacturing Company and although his name was prominently announced in advertisements regarding the quality of lenses available, the lenses were marked Willard.
In 1871-72 the Willard business was sold to N.C. Thayer. Usener departed the Willard Mfg. Co. and embarked on his own business again. Moreover in 1871 Charles Cooper & Co, a photographic dealer advertised itself as the sole wholesale agents for "Usener Portrait Lenses". Other references show that as early as 1873 and late as 1905, Usener lenses were sold at retail photographic supply houses such as Willards (The Thayer deal did not last long), Edward Anthony, Charles Cooper & Co. and Andrew H. Baldwin.
Mr. Charles F. Usener died on the 17th of April 1900 and is buried in Green wood cemetery Brooklyn New York. Although he was not as well known as his lenses that carry the names of Holmes, Booth and Haydens and Willards Mfg Co., Charles F. Usener has made an important contribution to American photographic history with his lifes work of producing high quality lenses.
2012, Catchers of Light: Stefan Hughes, p.664
1873, A Photographers Friend 1873, p. 197
1873 The Ferrotyper's guide
1866 Humphrey's Journal of Photography, p. 321
1905 Wilsons Photographic Magazine,
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