Thursday, June 17, 2010

Theme Thursday - Camera

Photo by Magpie

This is a photo of an old Bell and Howell 8mm movie camera similar to the one my Dad got shortly before I was born. Because of this there are many home movies taken of me between birth and 5 years old when we stopped using it so much (I'm not sure why). In fact, my relatives joke that they can watch the movies (since transferred to DVD and narrated by my oldest sister and my Mom) and play a drinking game called "There's Tracy".

I don't know what happened to the original camera, but I bought this one on eBay several years ago to add to my camera collection. We also had a projector, and floodlights (yes, they were called floodlights) that mounted on a bar across the camera and were so bright they could rival any of the lights on a movie set.

A little trivia about Bell and Howell:

  • It was a Bell & Howell 8mm camera (though not this model) that was used by Abraham Zapruder to capture the famed footage of the assassination of President John F Kennedy.
  • Charles H. Percy, Republican senator from Illinois from 1967 to 1985 was chairman of the board between 1949 and 1964.
  • Bell and Howell designed the first all metal camera which was introduced in 1912.
  • In the early 1900s, its development of equipment addressed the two most important problems plaguing the movie industry at the time: flickering and standardization.
  • During World War II, Bell and Howell developed the gun camera used to assess the accuracy of machine guns, the retriflector sight used in B-29 bombers, the flight simulator employed in training pilots, bombardiers, and navigators to use radar, and an adaptation of the Eyemo camera for military purposes.
  • In 1951, Bell and Howell was awarded its first Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for technical achievement. Four years later, the 16mm Filmo 70 camera was adapted for Admiral Richard E. Byrd's journey to the South Pole. Other developments included the electric eye camera in 1956 and the first zoom lens to fit 8mm projectors in 1957.

By the way, I don't know if it's polite to ask other photo bloggers about their gear or not. For me, nothing fancy. I use any of three cameras right now : a Nikon D40, a Canon SX20, and a Canon S90.

What about you?
Please visit our friends at Theme Thursday to read more about Cameras.

14 comments:

Kathy said...

Great post! Nice trivia knowledge. When Dad passed away a year ago, I dug out and rescued out old slide projector. I keep thinking I'll find a screen and show the kids and grandkids the old slides.

I have a new photo blog, and most pictures are taken here in Indiana around home, some travel shots,too, http://photogimping.blogspot.com/ , and for every picture I use this sweet little Canon SureShot S3IS. I find myself wanting something different, then I wonder why that is after seeing the photos I get with this guy.

Oh, there's Tracy! Gotta fix a drink!

Thérèse said...

What an interesting post...
I am using a canon rebel xt (which is starting to talk nonsense... it's very scary...) and a rebel 35mm.

Kathy said...

This old equipment does bring back memories! As a young married, we bought a movie camera but never really did too much with it but we were big on slides. Anyone out there of my age group who remembers the old movies we used to get to watch in school snf the click, click, click, click as the frames whizzed by?

Brian Miller said...

ha. some cool trivia there...the perspective is decieving...how big is it if flood lights can go on it...i miss slide shows...

Louis la Vache said...

As a sign of how things change - Bell & Howell got into the records management business, Iron Mountain and completely out of the camera business.

Very interesting (and nostalgic!) post.

«Louis» uses a Nikon D70. He just got an 18 - 200 zoom that will bring those shots of the bridge and San Francisco from his balcony much closer.

Betsy said...

very nice....love the old stuff!

Small City Scenes said...

Interesting info about Bell and Howell.
I have a Canon SX20 and a smaller Canon and SX120. My only cameras and I like 'em.
Looks like an old Kodak Brownie on the right. MB

LD said...

Wow really fascinating. Thanks for the post and great photo!

Monkey Man said...

Love the bits of historical facts. Facinating. I remember the light bar for those heat lamps they called lights on the Bell & Howell cameras. My Theme Thursday is HERE .

PattiKen said...

Great trivia. I was always glad my folks didn't have a movie camera. I just know the movies would have surfaced at the most embarrassing times later on.

Diane AZ said...

My dad didn't have a movie camera but I have his slide projector and slides. My camera is a Canon SX10 and it is loads of fun. :)

Jarart said...

Very cool. My Dad had one of these too.
I've just returned home after being away for five weeks. I seem to have missed some awesome shots here!! Fantastic photos!

Rob said...

That's quite the movie camera.

Baino said...

We were also filmed as kids on something that looked spookily similar. I think my brother has the DVD's these days, must dig them out. I use a Canon EOS 400. Great beginners Camera.