For the Seventh Tale, I'd like to discuss the NIKKOR-N 5cm f/1.1 interchangeable lens for "S" and "L" (M39 screw) mounts.
The lens was introduced in 1956-02, just the second lens in history faster than f/1.2 (the first was the ZUNOW 5cm f/1.1, released in 1953 by Teikoku Optical Industries, later known as ZUNOW Optical Industries).
Starting around this time, the competition to develop super-fast lenses grew more intense and eventually led to lenses with performance ratings beyond even f/1.0.
It was during this period of energetic research and development that the idea of "lenses faster (brighter) than the human eye" first entered the collective consciousness of photographers around the world.
The optics of the NIKKOR-N 5cm f/1.1 were designed by MURAKAMI, Saburo, who at that time was manager of Nikon's 3rd Mathematics Section, Design Department. MURAKAMI was the right-hand man of AZUMA, Hideo, designer of the W-NIKKOR 3.5cm f/1.8, which was unveiled in September 1956, mentioned in the 3rd Tale.
Though just a handful of Japanese optics designers have attained worldwide renown, the paper trail they left behind -- patents, reports andsuch -- are available to shed more light on their accomplishments.
For example, MURAKAMI filed a patent application for the NIKKOR-N 5cm f/1.1 in 1957; he received a U. S. Patent the following year.
His design was regarded as a new invention, a totally new type of super-fast lens.
MURAKAMI devoted two years of painstaking design work and prototyping to develop the lens.
The designers back then used only an abacus and a sheet of logarithms to conduct ray tracing calculations.
The mind reels at the thought of the incredible volume of calculations and the hours it must have required to arrive at the final design.
Indeed, to succeed during that era, designers needed determination, resilience and, above all, an overriding desire to make better lenses.