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30th April


Came across a fine example of the bodger's art in the shape of a halogen conversion attempt on a Specto. The tranny used has been hacked about a bit, maybe even some of the windings have been reduced; certainly, the insulation around the coils has been replaced by parcel tape and parts of the horizontal layers of paxolin have been hacked back, presumably to make it fit into the bottom of the lamphouse. Unfortunately, this did not work, and the back of the lamphouse did not fit properly and neither, therefore, did the back. Extra holes had been drilled in the side of the lamphouse to attach condenser, mirror and tranny. By my count there are also 6 other holes which do nothing but bear silent witness to the horrors of bodgery. The tranny had only two of the four corner bolts that hold it together which, I believe, is not terribly good for them as they go floopy and inefficient and buzz. The crowning horror was the fixing of the lampholder into holes threaded into the laminations of the tranny core. The mind boggles.


27th April


No idea where the time has gone, since I appear to have achieved little since I last wrote. Mostly I've been trying to get this 200B working properly. I didn't like my wiring so I re-did that. The 120v 150w internal mini-reflector lamp I fitted proved no use. It has a double filament, with a tiny reflector immediately behind. Problem is, it does not appear to have suited the 200B optics, as I got very uneven illumination with obvious signs of the two filaments. So I have now tried a Plan B. The 200B Pathlamp not only has a filament offset towards the front of the envelope, it also has its filament at a different height from the standard pre-focus-base lamps. I have now fitted a pre-focus base salvaged from I know not where, and installed a 120v 250w lamp. This seems to work OK with the optics, despite the lack of filament offset, and gives decent illumination. There seems to be quite a good draught of air from the fan, so I think it would be worth trying 300w with a proper 110v lamp in the hope of even more light. I have also made up a sleeve that enables use of a B&H 1.5" lens, which I am sure will give better results, not least because it is coated, unlike the original.


19th April


Yet another Edison Home Kinetoscope on ebay; this one went for more than 2000. Some of the pix show more detail than previous pix so I have added them to the Kinetoscope page.


18th April


I shall share with you the secret of the Stevens Patent Baby Projector Shutter Boss. There are pictures.

I have parts of around 30 Babies, ranging from completely stripped base castings to complete machines. A great many of them, as you might expect, have mazac'd shutters, which has always put me off doing much with them as the cost of replacing all those shutters would be quite high. It also occurred to me that there is no real need, especially with motor-driven machines, for a shutter that is thick and heavy so that can it also act as a flywheel. This does give some stabilisation but even hand-cranking can probably cope without. I therefore set out to see what I could do cheaper, with materials on hand. This included a die in the non-standard size of M14 x 1.25 (tho' I had to buy the tap) and a length of brass hexagon which makes nice nuts.


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The basic issue was how small a unit was possible that would be substantial enough to carry a thread and yet not foul the main drive gear - even the grub screw has to be kept short. The basic bore of 6.8mm (I think there are minor variations in size in practice) is to fit over the splined section on the shutter shaft; it is opened out to 10.24 mm to fit over the front bearing of the shutter shaft. This is a loose fit; the end of the drive shaft is what takes the load.

I have noted the thread as 8mm deep; the last mm or so needs to be a plain 14mm diameter on which the shutter sits.

The shutter is a rough job knocked up from a thin sheet of aluminium of about the right size and with existing holes I could avoid. I don't think I've got the main blade quite big enough and the flicker blades are definitely a bit odd. I shall have to draw up a template.


5th April


I thought I maybe had a Look camera somewhere so I had a Dekko in the vaults and Lo! there was! It looks to me to be a pretty substantial job and good quality - good lens, continuously variable speed, silent wind, single, normal and lock-on run. Being Bakelite, it has not had the dreaded Mazac problem and is in good shape. What's not to like?


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The gate just moves squarely in and out for loading. Note the warning re Pathfilm on the door - I seem to recall mayhem being caused at one time by a change in film stock that many cameras could not handle.


I have now done pretty much all I am going to do for the time being with the Alef.


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I have included a "before" pic at the beginning. The top spool arm will just about take a 400' reel, tho' obviously the bottom won't. I found a bit of ready-bent metal that just cried out to be adapted for this job, and the more dedicated may recall that a long time back I made a spool spindle with flip-over end thingy to prove to myself I could do it, and that has come in handy, too. I want to move on, so do not propose to make a cassette holder yet - I did try using one mounted on a spindle thru the core, but it just didn't allow enuff freedom of rotation and led to the film being torn. The cassette needs to be held by its body, leaving the core free to rotate jerkily as required. I can't really see any smoothing for the feed on the Bilcin but I think it's probably needed. But the notching system worked!


31st March


I did actually manage to make a new pivot arm, not as good as the original but it does seem to work tho' I have yet to try film. I have also looked again at my Alef pix and it now seems to me that, certain minor differences aside, my machine is a Bilcin and the one with sprockets is a Bilcin 100. I am in the process of making a temporary upper arm; to make one to take cassettes seems a bit complicated right now - I've already spent a lot of time on this machine. It is however shiny and pretty. Must now get back to re-assembling the 200B Plus I've been working on!



25.5th March


Aaaaaargh! I got the Alef mech back together and confirmed my thoughts about how it worked. Then the activating tongue broke off! This not only undoes my work making the new pivot, but it is going to be an absolute devil to replicate the pivot arm. Les choses sont contre moi.


25th March


One of life's mysteries is why hardly anyone ever cleans a projector. Given that many are 50 years old or more, they end up looking tired and shabby and no great advertisement for our hobby. Coupled with the other mystery, why the British Standard ever came to require projectors to be stored in conditions of

extreme damp and maximum filthiness, I do wonder about some of my fellow cineastes and their practices.

This tirade is triggered by my work on two projectors, the 200B, about which you already know, and the Alef. The quality of the chrome on many -not all - shiny bits of the 200B really repay cleaning, but it has to be thorough and this requires a degree of dismantling. Maybe this puts people off.

The Alef on which I am focussing today is a strange admixture of quality and idiocy.


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Here are the pix to remind you. The quality I shall come back to, the idiocy is obvious - that ludicrously tiny lamphouse and the restriction in the size of reel it can take. And of course, no sprockets, but this has to be viewed in the light of the fact that there is an intermittent sprocket, and although it is not in an oil bath, it is far from the loose, clattery affairs seen in 35mm toys. As I suggested in the context of the LaPierre, this may obviate some of the worst problems of sprocketlessness. Also the lens is very small diameter. (Note I do not seem to have the upper spool arm, so I shall have to make one.)


But wait! What is this I see? Is it a very similar-looking mech with an add-on Super Arm and sprocket attachment?




Pity they couldn't do anything about the lamphouse and lens, and it still seems to be motorless. It all smacks of the Baby's basic design flaws, small lamphouse and small lens.


One other thing, however, makes the Alef stand out from the ruck. It seems to have a mechanism for handling notched films, a rarity outside Pathprojectors. I shall explain.


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This first group of pix shows the heart of the notching mech. The main reasons I started on this projector were;-

a) the rust you can see on the base in the first two pix at the top of this piece. Luckily, it seems to be restricted to the sides, and I have been able to re-paint up to the rim only - you can hardly see the join;-

b) I found a piece inside which I later identified as the pivot arm - see pic 1 just above - was flopping around loose and also the mech was not turning over. I just could not see what was going on without a fairly thorough dismantling. What I figured out was that the pivot was not there, so I had to make a new one. Bit tricky since, as you see from the third pic, there is no room for any fixing on the other side as it would foul the Maltese cross mech. So it has to be a force fit cum friction hold - which is probably what went wrong in the first place. Hopefully it will work well enough, as the machine is unlikely to get a lot of use, after all.

Anyway, the way this works (I think; not put it back together yet!) relies on the fact that the gear in pic 1 is not directly connected to the disc in which it is mounted - it is free to rotate - or, rather, the disc is free to rotate without taking the gear with it. The gear is only driven when the tongue drops into the docking station. This means that the pivot arm has two positions, which are controlled by the activating tongue. The tongue is tipped to the stop position for a notch, then is manually re-set for continued projection, ie with the gear locked in step with the disc. This is the default position, with the tongue held in the docking station (sorry - modern technological term) by the spring. The guide stud (which has a smaller diameter bit below what you see so the pivot arm slips underneath) acts to hold the pivot arm so it cannot lift away from the disc. In a further complication, the slit marked at the top (and I think there may be another near the guide stud) seems to engage with a spring mounted on a post that can be seen in one of the pix below. This acts as a sort of ratchet. All v. complex and I'm not entirely sure I've got my head fully round it yet. A slight worry is that I had to replace the spring - the one there when I started is too long to do the job my replacement is doing .......


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This set of pix is largely to show the quality of the construction - quite thick metal sheet, lots of bearings and chrome, bevel gears, glossy paint and whatnot. I must re-build to see if it does actually work!


23rd March


On the subject of Dekko, I have come across something from ACW that casts at least some light on where the later, more advanced Dekko came from.




22nd March


Been fiddling with old ACW material I scanned some time ago. Trouble is the amount of work needed to make it presentable, and the poor quality of the pix. tried removing the background from a couple of pix and replacing with my standard pale blue. I think it looks better; imagine the Kalee pic with a wide backing of stripes, even darker than what you can see thru the reels etc.




19th March


Hav been away for nearly 10 days on and off and working hard. Not cine, unfortunately. However, I have got straight back in the cine saddle.

You will recall the Dralowids (see 2nd March below) and the somewhat damaged Blue one. I have replaced all the springs so the motor now does its job, but I found the damage was greater than was at first apparent.


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The Dralowid is just a series of discrete modules, often completely separate from each other, screwed to the inside of a wooden box. Here is one of the main modules (the lamp connects to the two terminals seen left in pic 2), removed to fix the floopy springs. I basically had to cut some until they did the job. Note in pic 3 that the bakelite panel in which the motor/lamp switch and speed control are mounted has split right across. Fortunately, I have some superglue which seems to do an unusually good job on bakelite. Elsewhere, bakelite parts were sheared off in another 3 or 4 places, usually near the point where they are fixed to the casing. You can also see that the motor field coil has had its corners bashed about.


Anyway, it now seems to "turn over" ("work" seems a rather strong term for what it does).


7th March


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I showed you this Agfa before (see Page 1, under 1st November), but I have now found this review. It looks like my machine is a Domestino and is missing the side cover to the claw mech.


4th March




I have been vaguely aware for a long time that the LNER once had a 17.5 cinema on a train. But these pix I have never seen before. I had always imagined a Home Talkie on the train. But that is absolutely, incontrovertibly, undeniably, a Rural Sonore. Ian Green wonders if the French were already doing it; was this a copy, machine and all? Oddly, these two pix were on a page with no other content relevant to this.


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Here, too, is another rare bird, a Kalee 16mm. It looks a lot like a Victor. There is a pic on the Curzon website at


2nd March


Interested to note, re unknown source of Dekko late machine's design, a pic on P137 of Lossau; the middle one of three looks quite a bit like in some ways.


Now we move on to Mikael's machines. He has been collecting Dralowids. These are 8mm machines, made in Germany. The Dralowid III/8 dates, according to Lossau, from 1950. There is a lot more info in his book, so I shall not repeat it here. The III/8 was available in at least four colours. Here they are. Note that the brown one was mine, but I could not withstand the blandishments of Mikael, who had the other three colours, so it is now his.


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Capacity is limited by the case to about 200'. The principal defect noted so far on test is that the gate pressure is so slack it is not possible to get a steady picture. Note also that the motor (see brown machine, pic 4) is mounted only on four springs attached to vertical posts, a most unusual arrangement to my eye. Now look at the corresponding blue pic - the springs are all floopy and the motor has no chance therefore of doing its job. This one has clearly been dropped, as one of the corner joints of the case has sprung somewhat. You can also see the lamp, 15v 60w.


Oh alright - here is a pic of them all together. I've done what I can with the background but I didn't have a big enuff backdrop to use.




Mikael also has a Dralowid II, which can be seen on top of the others; this looks really rather modern but Lossau says it is pre-war. Obviously purely a toy, with limited spool capacity and no sprockets. But cute, and with a neat case. Lossau (smug smug) has no pix - remember you saw them first here!


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