James's Light Meter Collection: Weston Model 650
Weston Model 650 "Senior" USAclick for instruction manual
Maker: Weston Electrical Instrument
Model: Model 650 "Senior"
Circa: 1935 - 1939
Designer: F. X. Lamb
Price (new): $15.95
Cell type: Selenium
Measure type: Reflecting/Averaging

click for larger adThis is one of my favorites, based solely on design. I tend to like octagonally shaped things, and early art deco, so this appeals on several levels. It was briefly called the Senior when Weston was selling it as the big brother to their Junior. In older advertising it's simply the "Model 650" or the Weston Meter, which was common practice at that time. GE's current design was always the "General Electric Exposure Meter" regardless of which model they were shipping.

This is the direct forerunner to the Weston Master series. The only two major important distinguishing features that the Masters had and this lacks are the dual-ranges (this has only one scale and no high/low baffle), and this one has no provision for the incident meter accessory.

This is really quite the machine. I have a magazine article about how to use it in the darkroom as a poor man's densitometer, and an paragraph in the book Graphic Graflex Photography shows how to use the calculator dial to compensate for bellows extension, as part of a larger chapter that explains how to use this particular meter to measure exposure. Plus I see it a lot in photos where it's being used, but the photo illustrates some other product or idea.

Mine came as part of a collection of Westons that I bought in a lot. And of course, it doesn't work. I haven't yet opened it up to peek inside.

I received the following email regarding this meter from Mr. Don Graf:

"My uncle who was Vice President of Weston Instrument Co in Newark, NJ is the person who designed the Weston 650 meter. His name was FX Lamb. His brother Anthony Lamb "invented" the photo cell in that meter. Anthony was also with Weston's.

"FX Lamb and my dad went to college together and both married sisters.

"On my 18 birthday (I'm now 72) uncle Frank gave me the very first 650 meter ever made. Three years ago I gave it to his son for one of his kids.

"After college Frank went to work with Weston's and my dad went to work for the instrument division of Westinghouse, which years later he was manager of. Westinghouse made a light meter that was actually used by the ASA board as a standard which ticked my uncle off. The Westinghouse meter was in two pieces. Wish I had one of those."

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