Apr 4 2012: Twenty-Five Photographs from Bell and Howell 1623 Super/Standard 8mm Projector Instruction Manual (1970s)

Bell & Howell were one of the leading manufacturers of consumer equipment for slide and film projection, and these images are taken from a 1960s or 70s instruction manual that shows how to prepare and thread film, generally operate and maintain their 1623 model Super/Standard home projector. Based in the United States, the company’s history goes back to the earliest days of the market, when founded by two projectionists to make equipment for the nascent movie industry in 1907. That depth of experience shows in the fact that of the projectors I’ve found second-hand over the years to facilitate screenings and viewings of found home footage, those designed to show 8mm and 16mm film both bear the logo of thios particiular company. Much of the equipment featuring the Bell & Howell logo is made under license, and it seems likely that the 1623 model whose booklet is excerpted here was in fact built in West Germany rather than the US. Either way, despite being at least forty years old, the thing still works as well as when first removed from its packaging. The films it shows, however, feel rather more spectral and otherwordly than I suppose they must have done when first shot: that it’s increasingly likely that these delicate celluloid strips contain reanimations of the dead, and certainly show faces that will have been fundamentally altered by age, gives their content a compelling and uncanny beauty, however mundane the original subjects first appear.

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