November 2018


I have added a short page on GIC projectors. And I have finally acquired a complete 17.5 Rural Sonore - no amp, but I have a spare, not that I tend to rely much on original amps anyway.


August 2018



I have only recently (July 2018) gotten around to the point of live testing the PM as a projector (with its amp outside and powered separately). After only a few minutes running, smoke poured out of the motor. It is possible I fed 240v in via the 110v setting, but it is also possible that wires which came loose during the fiddling about process, I replaced wrongly. It now seems that the projector runs only on 240v via the 110v setting or something equally odd, and there a many unpleasant flashes and crackles and spittings if I change the voltage setting while the projector is running. I wonder now if my wiring diagrams, too, are up the spout. Caveat emptor!

I am getting so fed up with this machine that I feel almost inclined to pass it along to someone with greater electrical/electronic skill who might be able to do something with it. Anyone interested?

4th July


I have finally gotten round to breaking up the "current" What's New page to make it quicker to load. So what is below was part of Page 8, and there are now also a Page 9 and a page 10. If you want to see these, they are accessible via the What's New tab at top or bottom of the page.

I have been checking a lot of 9.5 in recent times and was getting a bit fed up with all the rewinding it involved. So I gave myself permission to be frivolous for a while and see what I could come uo with. Here is the result, basically a pulley with a dog clutch (male) on one side.

p1010017Pulley for_rewinder

I appreciate it may not be much to look at but I was quite pleased with it. To explain: I have standardised on the Muray type rewinder, raised on blocks to allow it to handle up to 2400' spools, which uses a 6mm shaft to carry various adapters for use with various gauges. As well as the usual 4, I have made adapters for 17.5mm and 28mm to enable me to use the same rewinder for all the gauges I use, bar 35mm. The Muray adapters locate on a pin in the rewinder shaft; this pin only protrudes from one side of the shaft, because the adapters have two separate slote to engage with the pin and on 9.5 these slots are different depths to cater for the variation in 9.5 spool sizes. What this little pulley does is to sit on the rewinder shaft (maybe with some spacing washers) immediately behind the pin in the shaft. The idea is to engage the single-tooth dog clutch into the "spare" slot in the adapter. A motot drive to the pulley via a belt will then provide a power drive. 

I actually lashed up a mains motor with a speed control to try it out, but although it operated, there was insufficient power. Obviously, if I proceed with the idea, I need to make a much larger version of this tiny  pulley (it's only about 0.75" in diameter) to give a reducted ratio from the motor so as to improve the power. I will try to get some more pictures to help.

15th April

These pictures come courtesy of Lluis Argelich II. His father, Lluis Argelich I, was a great devotee of 9.5 and his son naturally joined in and, since the death of LA I several years ago, LA II has maintained his father's collection and continued to support the Spanish 9.5 Club. LA I had been a contact of Patrick Moules' and, as sadly is so often the case these days, it was only an attempt to renew contact on a specific question that brought news of his death.

jefe1a     jefebabya     JefeLux1a     jefelux2     jefeseniora    jefesuper2

 Lluis was inspired to send these pix because Patrick had sent him a copy of Flickers containing my article about toy projectors, in which I confessed my lamentable ignorance of Jefe projectors. My knowledge is now much improved and I just love the artwork of the adverts.

Lluis says Jefe was a Spanish toy manufactureer established in Valencia; cine projectors were an obvious addition to their range. The Jefe 1 took only about 9m/30ft of film; the Baby and Super raised this to 15m. All 3 were hand-cranked. The Senior was the first to take 100m/300ft and was aslo available with a motor. The top of the range was the Jefe Lux, similar to the Senior but with a more powerful lamp. Although mainly 9.5, some 8mm versions were produced at a later stage.

April 11 2018

Just a brief note to point out I am still alive, but only just. Have been seriously ill/hospitalised with kidney problems and am still a long way from recovering, so have done very little on the film front. 
Have however just been checking thru French versions of Monte Cristo (5 reels in French, "SB" titles) and Italian Straw Hat (4 reels in French, "S" titles). Quite apart from the more complete versions, I noticed in particular in checking these films that there was virtually no sprocket damage. Lining and heat alteration were still there, but on an English copy I would have expected a considerable number of trashed/pulled sprockets. I wonder what the difference might be?

Here are pix of a few bits and pieces I picked up at Argenteuil earlier this year, which may be of interest.

95NatanHeurtiergate2     95NatanHeurtiergate3     95Natan Heurtiergate1     pathébox1     Vox16gate1     Vox16gate2

Pix 1-3 show first one of the interchangeable gates from what must have been a very ancient Heurtier Tri-gauge. Much more chunky and complicated than later versions; note eg the locking latch. The other piece is the side of a Natan which has been converted to 9.5. I didn't get the claw and cam sadly (not that one would dare to use them). I have included more views than maybe necessary in order to show details. Note in particular the specially-made sprocket. The man who was selling this had dozens of these sprockets, so it wasn't just a one-off. Only of interest to the curious and strange (eg me) today. He also has lots of other stuff, eg those little screw-on knobs that hold wires to Baby lamphouses and even the round washers with a cut-out for the wire that fit under them. French prices mind.
Pic 4 is just the top of a (French) film box, shown because of my fascination with Pathé artwork. The final two pix show a possible solution to the age-old problem of film eroding the sides of the rear gate channel on a Vox, although here it has been done as part of another conversion, this time to 16mm. One can see how it would be possible to remove some of the channel sides and fit a complete new steel gate....... Of course, one would need all the time in the world.

Re my last posting below, I still ent finished putting the Bolex DA back together cos of illness, so no test results to report.

February 2018

I have been converting a Bolex DA to High Intensity lighting. Details are at http://www.cinerdistan.com/multi-gauge/19-multi-gauge-projectors/521-da-etc-page-2-2?showall=&start=1 Unfortunately, this has not worked out as well as I had hoped since it is not possible to gat the 32mm front of lamp to screen distance with the DA's design.

6th January 2018

I have just come to what is the end of a gargantuan effort to repair the page on the Baby Cine leaflets that preceded Pathescope Monthly (see Before PM). As usual, if anyone spots any flaws (or has other Issues of Baby Cine they are willing to lend!), please get in touch.

What else? Well, I have taken up the 17.5 Rural Sonore cudgels once again. You may recall my prolonged efforts to replace the missing sound smoothing head with a GBL 516 picture gate ended in failure. Plan B was to hand, in the shape of another sound unit, where someone had inserted a shaft thru where the PEC had been to the rear of the machine, with another flywheel at the far end. I had to do a lot to get this in any way operational, and I think I made the lip on the now-conventional-looking sound drum too low. I am in the middle of making a further smoothing device with two rollers on a sprung pivot arm (a direct copy of the one on Heurtier sound machines) which I hope may help. I have looked also at the perforator but cannot figure out how to make it perf evenly.

 17th December 

I have been playing with my Bolex G3 sound machine and the 16mm-only version I acquired a few years ago in France. Details are in Multi-Gauge Projectors under Bolex G and P series.

27th September 2017

I have been pursuing the issue of replacing the fibre gears in the Bolex DA when they get some of their teeth stripped. There are naturally two gears, a 66-tooth one for the pre '37 models and a 55-tooth jobbie for the later model (which is characterised by the extended top of the machine to cover the shutter). Some years ago, I had a few 66-tooth ones made, in brass, but it was costly even then - about £80 each. I have been trying to find a way to make the 55-tooth ones at a somewhat more reasonable cost. I discovered a stock gear held by HPC Gears which is 6mm thick (the original is 2mm but - and this is important - with a boss that makes it about 6mm ) and very slightly larger in diameter than the original. What I have to do is find an old(broken/stripped) gear and remove the shaft, carefully, because it is to be re-used. I have to make an insert to fit the usually 4mm diameter shaft into the 6mm hole in the new gear. The shaft has to be a force fit into the insert, which is in turn a force fit into the gear. This is a critical part of the operation, as the shaft has to hold the gear while it is machined. The diameter has to be very slightly reduced, then most of the gear has to be machined down to 2mm thick, leaving about 12mm in the centre as a 6mm thich boss.

When I discussed the matter with HPC, I learned something new - that noise reduction was not, as I had thought, the only reason for using fibre gears. They suggested fibre gears had an important "sacrificial" role, in that they would strip before other parts of the mech got damaged. This made me choose Delrin, a branded Nylon product, for the new gears. There is then the issue of fixing the gear into the machine. As is traditional, it is necessary to almost completely dismantle the mech to get to the gear. In the case of the post-37 Bolex, this means the following.

1. Remove lamphouse. Watch out, as the screws are just into soft aluminium and it is easy to strip the thread.

2. Remove the twin pulley that drives the rewind and take-up belts. Loosen only the centre of the three tiny grub screws or you will be sorry.

3. This one is critical. You have to loosen the lock-nut arrangement on the main drive spindle, at the rear of the machine. If you do not use the correct tools you risk serious damage to the machine. The correct tools are a thin 8mm metric spanner, and a more normal 8mm metric spanner. The thin one goes nearest the body of the machine, onto a thin "nut" with only two flats, that is actually part of a larger piece.The spanner has to be thin or it will foul the outer spanner and be NBG; Bolex actually provided the correct item in the box of gauge-change parts. The incorrect tools are anything resembling pliers. Unscrew first the nut, then the inner "nut" (note this is dished on the reverse to contain a dished washer which is a vital part of the drive train) and the square washer (actually, the hole is square, not the washer).

4.Either remove the screws under the lamp house base (the ones used to ad
just lamp position) or remove the lamp-holder from within its base - this is needed to give clearance to remove the side plate.

5. Remove side-plate securing screws and wiggle the side plate off the machine. With the post-37 machines, the shutter falls off at this point and screws up the shutter position. You will have to re-phase the shutter with the claw on re-assembly. 

6. Remove the piece that carried the square washer (3 above). This is half of a dog clutch - the other half is fitted to the shaft. Remove also the X-shaped spring/lever/pad arrangement that rides on the outer rim of the claw shaft. This unit does not seem to have any fixings and just slides off. Unscrew the yoke that bears on the inner half of the dog clutch and remove. Remove small screw holding upper small fibre gear and remove gear. Obviously, this cannot be the one we are thinking about as it is far too easy  to access.

7. Remove screw holding the spring arm (which drops onto the claw assembly when the notching mech is triggered) and remove arm, watching out for the torsion spring around the arm pivot.

8. Turn to the front of the machine. Remove the inching knob and the drive pulley (often a double pulley). This is nowhere as easy as it sounds. Both are held on by very small taper pins which pass thru the outer circumference of the knob, then through the shaft and back out into the knob. And they really are tapered pins - they will only come out one way, big end first. Especially if they have never been removed before, these can be the very devil to knock out. Even if you can find something thin enough yet strong enough to hammer into the thin end of the pin, you have to be careful to support the shaft on a very firm surface or you will bend it, which might well be impossible to rectify. Also, use a spanner to undo the nut near the rear of the little door that serves as a threading light for the machine when the lamp is on. This nut is on the shaft of our target gear.

9. Last lap. Return to the rear of the machine and pull out the drive shaft below the big gear, then the big gear itself (having first removed the sprocket and the spindle that carries the sprocket - more tiny grub screws - this last component has two of the little devils to loosen).  Undo the screw that provides the claw pivot/slide (previously hidden by the big gear). Set the claw to be clear of the gate, then ease out the claw assembly TOGETHER WITH the target gear - they are on separate shafts but will only come out together.

10. Replace gear and re-assemble.

I reckon I can do a replacement post-37 gear for around £40 - as long as I do not charge anything for the time and effort involved in machining the gear and dis-assembling and re-assembling the mech - and it is rare indeed for one attempt to be enough, as there are adjustments one can upset that stop correct functioning. I've done 2 or 3 of these gears now and so far they seem to work OK - but only time will tell. I am now going to look at whether I can do something with the 66-tooth pre-37 gears ( tho' I do still have a couple of brass ones left). I will let you know.

24th July

A piece of ultra-nerdery for you.

Here are the two sides of a leaflet acquired at Argenteuil. The interesting point (for me!) comes on the first page. If you look closely at the two projector pix, it would appear that the solid side of the lamphouse has been replaced by a simple sliding door. This obviates the need for the cassette to hold the lamp, that I have described previously. Also interesting (!) is the question of date. One might have expected the change to come with the switch to 16mm, but it would appear that the original cassette idea had a short life or there were two types running concurrently. This may well be so, as I have a 16mm Type 45 (16mm) that still uses the cassette.

SRleaflet0003a     srleaflet0005b

10th July 2017

I have been gently chided by Garry for not keeping up to date with with what I have been up to. There are all sorts of reasons for this, including the fact that it is much harder to add pictures now. I'm really ticked off with Microsoft for abandoning a system (Front Page) that I found instinctive (and I am no computer whizz) and easy to use. I have also been having a very frustrating time with various projects and, of course, there is my perennial problem of getting distracted and dashing off in another direction. One specific thing was assisting the local History Society with some amateur films from the 1930's showing local places and people, which has involved a surprising amount of time.

My biggest problem, however, has been the saga of the 17.5mm Rural Sonore sound head. I have had to terminate attempts to make the modified L516 picture gate function in this role - it had too great a tendency to rip strips out of the side of the film. Luckily, I had at some point acquired a somewhat adapted sound unit which had a shaft thru where the EC would originally have gone with a sound drum at the front end and a second flywheel at the other end. Even this is very fiddly to get right.

I have mentioned before my problems with Kodak projectors, most recently the Model L. In one of my distractions I took apart a Pageant (it wasn't working). It was spookily like the Kodak Sound 8. The mechanism is built into a wooden case and has to be removed before you can access the amplifier below. When you get the mech out, it is such a weird and awkward shape that putting it down to work on is really difficult - it won't stand up straight. Now I don't know which came first, tho' logic says the 16mm but I do know that this is one design that should definitely NOT have been repeated. This also underlined one of my major problems - I can't find people to work on projector amplifiers. I have never had any education in matters electronic and it is largely a closed book to me. Unless I can find someone prepared to do them at a sensible price, I shall risk having to go back to school and start from scratch, a horribly daunting prospect.

12th March

When I was renewing the Silent-to-Sound page, it was obvious my original pix of the Specto sound unit were inadequate. I have now taken some additional pix. These are mostly of a unit I picked up I know not where, but which some bright spark thought would look good roughly over-painted in best Admiralty Battleship Grey. Wrong! It does however make photography a tad easier - it is hard to get decent pix of all-black things.

Spsd1     Spsd2     Spsd3     Spsd4     Spsd5     Spsd6     Spsd7     Spsd8     Spsd9

First we have a view of the amp. The valve line-up from the left is:
1. VT74/5Z4
2. An anoymous thing made by B&H
3. 6V6GT/G
4. 6SL7GT
5 .6J7/VT91

Pic 2 is from the front of the machine, with the two front plates removed. Note just above the switches bottom left an angle piece which seems to do nothing. It is in fact perspex or simlar and allows light from the exciter lamp to  illuminate the switches and knob on the outside. The exciter incidentally is 4v 24w. Pic 3 is from a different angle, with Pic 4 a close-up from Pic 3. This is to show a feature marked with two red lines in the close-up. The complicated little switch unit is for the speaker output, which is via a standard jack plug, but it has this additional feature. Inserting the jack pushes the two marked strips into contact which is necessary to complete the mains circuit - with the jack removed, there is no power (except thru to the projector) and so the amp cannot be powered-up unless the speaker is plugged in, a useful safety device for a valve amp. Those old enuff (ie nearly anyone who reads this sort of stuff) will recall the original Vox amp and, I think, the Home Talkie amp, had a simlar arrangement.
Pic 3 also shows the layout of the sound head, which is seen from other angles in Pix 5 and 6. Finally some general views of the machine and a very old pic from the original website before the Great Software Disaster of 2015.

5th March

I mentioned some time ago (Nov 9th below) that I had wandered around engineering workshops locally to try to find someone to cut a gear for a Bolex DA, but discovered this work was basically only done by a few specialist frims. I realise I never told you where I went from there. I tried one of these specialist firms for a quote, but it was, as ever, far too costly to be worthwhile - around £100 for a single gear/shaft. After much head-scratching and discussion with very helpful staff at the gear company, an alternative idea emerged. Although they did not manufacture an exactly identical gear, they did have one almost identical. It had no boss, was thicker than needed and of course there was no integral shaft. It was also slightly oversize. Nonetheless, I reckoned it was worth a try to see if my limited engineering skills could do the job. The cheapest material would be steel, but one thing I had picked up in my various discussions up to this point was that there were basically two reasons for the use of Paxolin/fibre (which is what the original was) in a gear train. One was noise, but the other, possibly more significant reason was as a "sacrificial" gear, that would break first before anything more important was damaged. For this latter reason, I opted for the next cheapest option of nylon (Deldrin) and purchased a couple of gears. What I then had to do was to reduce the thickness of the gear whilst leaving a central boss to match the original, make a new shaft and trim just a smidgin from the diameter. Having done this in my rough and ready way, I found, somewhat to my surprise, that it actually worked quite well. Having been successful thus far, I felt emboldened to smash up a broken original gear to extract the shaft, re-use of which would reduce the work involved. I reckon this reduces the cost to around £35/£40, which is considerably more palatable.

Marginally interesting factoid for you. At around the time of the Std 8 - Super 8 transition, Eumig introduced a new variety of splicer called ChemSplice. This didn't seem that different, but appeared to make a frame-line join with interlocking min-triangles on the flat, rather than the usual overlap. I recently found a bottle of their special, very fast-drying gunk that was used. According to the label, it was 95% methylene chloride and 5% ethyl alcohol. I suspect you could do the same job nowadays with superglue.

31st January 2017

Here are a couple of pix of a Bolex DA lamp conversion.

DAconv1     DAconv2

As usual, I am trying not to make holes in the machine but to re-use existing ones.The lamp bracket - basically a U shape - is fixed to the base of the machine via the holes used to secure the flat D-shaped plate that forms the bottom of the lamphouse; the D-plate stays in situ. An additional (adjustable) strut at one corner gives the stability required. This machine has the built-in lamp switch, so I decided to wire up so as to enable the use of either a 120v 250w lamp (keeping the usefulness of the switch and avoiding a separate power supply to the lamp) or a 15v 150w dichroic lamp. This gives better light but is less convenient. I have described on Page 2 for the Bolex DA a way of providing a power supply for the 15v 150w lamp (about the max it is safe to use with notched films on a DA) whilst having just a 110v feed. In the above pictures, the machine is fitted with the 120v 250w lamp and connected direct to the original lamp wires at a connector strip. By transferring the  halogen lampholder wires to the other two sockets on the connector strip, the 15v 150w lamp can be powered from an external source - here the wires for this are led away relatively discreetly under the motor. The original lamp wires just stay in place, not connected to anything.

I am still trudging thru the process of repairing this site after the Great Software Disaster of 2015. Most recently, I have been working on the Pathescope Monthly page and looking at the wartime issues in particular. I have actually extended the page to include all of them in full, because I was very impressed by what I saw when I studied them in detail.

9.5 Sound, introduced to the UK only with the splendid April/May 1938 issue, was getting into its stride and, despite a rather repetitive approach to content and to releases, quite a few worthwhile films were issued in the period coinciding with the "phoney" war. The list of those I particularly like is:-

She Shall Have Music (and the extracted Across Europe short)
Edge of the World
When Knights Were Bold
Land Without Music
Soft Lights and Sweet Music
Radio Lover
Sporting Love
Southern Roses
Secret Lives

These last 4 featured in a single issue, June/July 1940! (tho' not necessarily for the first or last time!) At the same time, a string of Fleischer Popeye and Betty Boop cartoons appeared, plus the Pathé Vox Reviews and a personal favourite, Hungarian Rhapsody. How can one help but wonder what might have been if war had not supervened? If there had been no flood of 16mm machines onto the market as surplus? If Pathescope had managed to secure more rights - as French Pathé did with features like King Kong? All might-have-beens; instead, Pathescope enjoyed the benefits of the significant step forward they had made by introducing sound for only a very short period. I think one can be excused a brief sigh of nostalgic regret.

Going back to the end of last year, I did manage to get the Kodascope Model L back together, but it was a struggle and the result was not very satisfactory - the mech and drive are still very stiff and it is not really clear to me why. The episode has re-kindled my old dislike of Kodascopes (apart from the Kodatoy) and given me good reason. This machine was clearly not intended to be dismantled - that ridiculous hard-plumbed oiling system for a start - and there are too many areas that don't come apart enough for decent access. In accordance with what I am coming to regard as the norm for 16mm the machine is far more complicated than it needs to be for the job it has to do and the medium with which it is working. One could achieve results of equal quality from a far simpler and less bulky machine - I simply cannot accept that so much machine and so much expense was actually justified except as a money-making exercise.