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Detectives Wanted - Can you Identify What this is?

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Posted 7 years ago

(1 item)

Hi folks, good day to you..
I was wondering if I could impose upon you folks for your thoughts and impressions on this mystery apparatus? I have sent pictures to a few still and movie collectors and experts on the subject and they are all baffled as to what this is.

I have a PDF with additional images that I'd be happy to send along. Just send me a request for additional photos to Rich at noreaster@netzero.com and I'll sen them along.

Here are my impressions.

There ar no manufacturers marks anywhere. It obviously was meant to record something on film, yet there is no lens or obvious way to attach a lens. The film magazine on top is obviously designed to keep the light out. The wheel to the right, when turned manually advances the film by turning the sprockets. I almost feel like the wheel may have been attached to a motor via a belt to mechanically turn the wheel.. Another clue which leads me to believe it was belt driven, is the presence of the "remote wire". At first glance, you might assume that the remote wire was a shutter release. ..It is not. When you press the "remote wire" button, a pin moves out to engage the wheel. The wheel is either "stopped" or "prevent turning" depending on the devices purpose. Stopping the wheel, stops the sprockets from turning, thus stopping the film from advancing.

Now, as for the actual "shutter release", this is accomplished by pressing the button, which is located on the front door on the main section of the apparatus, downward which moves a "light gate" down behind the Glass Slide, exposing the film to the ambient light or possibly an alternate external light source.

Three things jump out at me. First the film exits trough the bottom of the device, leading me to believe either that the film was collected under this device OR perhaps this device was prat of a larger device which performed some other functionary processes on the film.

Second, the existence of the metal bracket that is attached to the right hand side of the box above the wheel. What might its purpose be? Could there have been a lens which as mounted on the bracket which swung out to allow acess to the door on the front? Just as an observation here, the "spindle" which juts up from the bracket is the exact same diameter as the spindle which holds the role of film in place inside the film magazine mounted on top.

The last item, which at first, looks quite unremarkable, but perhaps, is in fact the "key" to what this device might be, is the Glass Slide that I mentioned earlier. Could this be an early microscope glass-slide movie/still camera?

By taking a glass slide, with say a sample of some small live biological critters, and swap it out with the glass slide we see mounted on the front (refer to pictures) and then press the button opening the "light gate" exposing the film to the light which back-lights the glass slide and thus captures the silhouetted movements of critters onto the advancing film, thus creating a "movie" of the critters behavioral patterns for a presentation on the big screen with an appropriate movie projector Or still images of the slides contents onto film. If you look at the pictures with the door open, you see a window, that s aligned with the glass slide on the front. In addition, The window is about the same size as a glass slide.

One last note. The thumb tab on the front of the base when pushed in, actually cuts the film as it exits through the bottom f the base of the apparatus..

I would greatly appreciate any help you may be able offer in identifying this piece.

With all due regards,

Rich Canfield (Rich)

Unsolved Mystery

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  1. Vestaswind Vestaswind, 7 years ago
    Gesh let me look, but I swear I have seen this before. It might be a film editing machine
  2. Rich Canfield, 7 years ago
    Thank you Vestaswind.
    Update: Another possible suggestion is that it may have been a device used to make titles or inter-titles or srolling credits for silent movies or early talkies.

  3. Vestaswind Vestaswind, 7 years ago
    I'm bumping it up. We have so many camera collectors here someone should know something!

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