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Question on a Very Old Cinema Projector

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by etrain16, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Probably my most off topic post yet.

    I received a very old (approx. 1899-1905) projector from my uncle recently. This projector, known as a Lubin Cinescope (with limelight) was very similar in design to the Edison Kinetescope of the same vintage. These projectors would be carried from town to town by a projectionist, showing movies at a time when many towns didn't have motion picture theaters. Lubin was a direct competitor of, and, therefore a target of, Edison, who eventually put Lubin out of business in the courts.

    I've always been interested in old cameras, so he sent it my way after owning it himself for 30 some years. At this point I'm looking for suggestions where I might go online to get more information and possibly an appraisal. I likely won't hold it for long as I don't have the space or really a proper place to store/display it. I would preferably like to find a collector of such cinema antiques, but I honestly don't know where to start.

    So, any of you with any experience in antiques, particularly unique items such as this? I'm just taking a shot at asking here - you never know what people may know outside of guns.

    Thanks for looking.
     
    DuneHopper likes this.
  2. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    There was a gentleman recently on local koin news that collected old movies and films, I believe he is the owner of the theater on Clinton street in se portland.

    Perhaps a call to him is in order?

    He stated himself and Quinton Tarintinno were the two largest collectors.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  3. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Good info, thanks!
     
  4. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Show me a Photo and I can look it up for you in my price guide. I am a moderator on one of the largest photography sites on the Net Photo.net I collect cameras.

    Typically a projector will not bring as much as a comparable camera (fewer collectors and they tend to be larger items so they restrict the number of people who have the space to collect very many.

    In my book they do not list any projectors for Lubin but the one 35mm cine camera that it does list is shown as $2000-3000.00

    Let me see a couple good photos and I know I can find you the right person. Some of my friends have even worked at the Smithsonian helping to organize their collection.
     
  5. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thank you for the offer to assist. Since I just got it a few weeks ago, I haven't done a photo session with the projector or camera just yet. I'm hoping to do that in the next few days. Once I have those, I will send some your way. I have found a gentleman in the Netherlands that seems to know a lot about the history these things, he has also asked to see some photos.

    My uncle had little information on these pieces. I found the projector in a book (content available online) called "A Technological History of Motion Pictures and Television: An Anthology..." published by Raymond Fielding. In that book, on page 99, Figure 8, is the projector I have, save for the "limelight" piece inside the lighting housing (the housing is there) - there is a burner assembly with it, but it appears more like a newer natural gas style burner, to my untrained eyes. It even has a reel of film with it (no idea what's on it). It's in okay shape, but I'm not trained in evaluating such things. According to the book, this projector was produced between 1897 and 1899.

    It came with a camera too, but it is a complete mystery - no markings or nameplate to give a manufacturer or model number, so I'm stuck as to where to start with that one. It, like the projector is a hand-crank model, but my uncle referred to it as a 'field' camera (his term) that was likely used for location shots rather than the bigger studio cameras. Appears to also be 35mm like the projector. I have no reason to believe that the camera is directly related to the projector, or that it is a Lubin. It came with a large wooden tripod.

    I do happen to have one photo with me (from my phone) of the nameplate on the front of the projector - probably not very helpful at the moment, but it's a start:

    IMG_5873.JPG

    IMG_5873.JPG
     
  6. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    All very interesting. Be looking forward to the photos and seeing if I can help. Do understand that any valuation on a collectable like this will only be a guess. The actual value will end up being determined at the point of sale either negotiated or determined by auction. So no matter who gives you a value take it only as a guideline. I have been collecting camera now for about 30 years and it never stops amazing me the variation in what one example of some camera will fetch compared to another.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  7. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I don't have much experience with such things. The cameras I've collected are hardly as old or as rare as a piece like this. Most are simply older, but common pieces that don't have much considerable value, save for my interest in them. I do know that, should I want to sell it at some point, finding the right buyer/collector will be an important step in securing a better value.

    Thanks again and as soon as I can get some photos taken, i will get some up for you to look at.
     
  8. DuneHopper

    DuneHopper Douglas County. Well-Known Member

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    I have boxes of old projectors and movies that were given to me a few years ago,
    not as old as you have so I wouldnt be much help,however i found the bigger older cities had the best information Portland, SanFransisco, NewYork, yep all places we would really visit are old movie towns and have allot of information as well as still old movie houses.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  9. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I am in contact with one guy in L.A. who owns a company that restores and sells old cinema equipment like this. I'm reaching out well beyond Portland since it's such a specialized collectible. But I agree, this is the type of item that needs to get in front of larger areas than Portland. I'm kind of hoping with all the cinephiles down in the L.A. area, I may find someone with more than a casual interest.
     
    DuneHopper likes this.
  10. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Okay, here are some photos - first, the camera, the projector will be in the next post.

    IMG_6729.jpg IMG_6749.jpg IMG_6752.jpg IMG_6756.jpg IMG_6760.jpg IMG_6770.jpg IMG_6782.jpg IMG_6796.jpg

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  11. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    And the S. Lubin Cineograph Projector (circa 1897-1899):

    IMG_6800.jpg IMG_6803.jpg IMG_6805.jpg IMG_6808.jpg IMG_6809.jpg IMG_6817.jpg IMG_6823.jpg IMG_6825.jpg IMG_6836.jpg IMG_6839.jpg IMG_6843.jpg IMG_6844.jpg IMG_6849.jpg IMG_6853.jpg

    IMG_6800.jpg

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    IMG_6853.jpg
     
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  12. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Closest I can find on the cameras is that its description is the same as a Akeley Cameras but they are narrower and more complicated. The 5mm lens on your camera would either be a VERY wide lens on 16mm film or a lens for 8mm film. Can you tell how big the shutter is? There is nothing pictured in my books that looks anything like this except the Akeley

    Do a google search for Akeley camera and you will see what I mean.

    My note here the Tripod would add value to the camera and could see $400+ on its own.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  13. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Not sure how to check the size of the shutter - any suggestions? I'm heading to bed in a few minutes, but I'll do a search on Akeley tomorrow. Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it.
     
  14. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Seems a bit of a mystery on the camera. I had also contacted a gentleman in the Netherlands that runs a website/blog for old cinema equipment. He agrees with you that it looks like an Akeley, but also, as you stated, doesn't match the Akeley. He went through his reference materials as well and was unable to find anything further. He provided a few links that I'll need to follow up on in the next few days to see if any of them can shed some light. I'm still waiting to hear back from a guy in L.A. that does restorations on this type of equipment - I'm hoping his proximity to Hollywood might give him a few more resources. We'll see.

    Thanks again for the information.
     
  15. Camraa

    Camraa California New Member

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    I just noticed this post about the projector and camera. Just wondering if you still have them?

    Thanks