A few weeks ago when I was over at my father-in-law’s (AKA Pope Tom from NTETTG blog fame) his neighbor, Carl, who runs a vintage/antique/junk store in town was over and I took the opportunity to put a bug in his ear to keep on the look out for any and all film projectors and keep me in mind when they surface. Sure enough last week Carl came across a few old projectors in a house haul and Tom brought them over for me to review last weekend.
They were in less than stellar shape and my initial (and to some degree still current) feeling was to trash them all. But then I figured we should investigate further and see if they worked and if the bulbs were worth anything.
The first one didn’t even have a bulb, but appeared to be in the best shape. The second didn’t have a front cover but looks every bit the part of a mid-century silent 8mm projector, and the bulb and mechanisms seemed to work so I thought I’d try running an old 8mm film through it…DUMB DUMB DUMB. First the film I used was very old and probably too brittle to use as a test film. Second, you should never, never, NEVER run film through an uncleaned projector, no matter how throw-away the film may be. The inevitable happened and the projector started having my film for lunch. “Thrash it” I deemed.
The last projector was in a box which indicated it was actually a film editor, which I’d like to have so I got a little excited…until I pulled the contraption out of the box itself. Aside from its typical filthiness it was in poor shape and when I opened a little door on the back (?!?) I noticed that while it did have a bulb down in there it was just floating around free. I finally figured out how to plug the bulb in and tried it out…the projector made some noise but none of the mechanisms seemed to want to wake up and the bulb didn’t light up…”Trash it”…was again my initial ruling…but then I thought “lets see if the bulb will work in the other projector first”.
I placed it in the first projector (even though it wasn’t the exact number it fit and the wattage was the same) and sure enough the bulb was still good.
My ruling to Pope Tom was a) I wasn’t interested in any of them, b) I recommend trashing the last one but keeping the bulb, c) I wouldn’t try to do anything with the other two but keep the other working bulb and try to sell them on eBay. Pope Tom dutifully took them back to Carl and relayed my rulings. Carl’s response was “tell him he can have them all if he wants them”. Well I can’t turn down free projectors, no matter how bad they are. Not without at least trying to salvage either some of thier dignity or at least the bulbs ($$$).
So here I sit with three filthy, broken or film-hungry projectors…and I’m working on bringing at least one, maybe two back to life, either for myself or some lucky eBayer…and those bulbs keep going up in price on eBay…
I’ll post further updates on their rehabilitation as it progresses.