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TOPIC: Your Oldest Projector

Your Oldest Projector 20 Nov 2002 19:37 #21405

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My cinema supplier was here this morning doing a check up to see what our cinema needed. He was astounded when he read the serial numbers off of our two Simplex XL projectors. We have #318 and #1606. He figures that since XLs were first manufactured in 1949 that one of our machines is from 1949 and the other one is from 1950 something.

So my oldest projector is 53 years old.


For the benefit of Mike, I found out the following dates of manufacture for Simplex machines.

Simplex Regular 1909
Simplex Standard 1916
Simplex Super 1928
Simplex E-7 1939
Simplex XL 1949
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Re: Your Oldest Projector 21 Nov 2002 00:24 #21406

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I have never researched the actual dates of my projectors, which incidentlly are Simplex E-7s. The projectionist that was here when I first had the theatre, who himself had been here since the early 40s, told me our E-7s were installed in the mid 40s. They still do a fabulous job day in and day out after nearly 55 years. Lets see any of the new ones last that long. Yes, we have changed a few gears, and replaced the intermittent movement once back in the 70s, but that is all. We just clean them and oil them and they remain happy to please us. Last year I purchased 25 E-7s for $350.00 just to have some backups. I have since sold all but 6 of them.

A short time ago I noticed a fellow on Film-Tech ask how often a projector head should be torn down and rebuilt. He was under the impression that it should be done every three years. I have never heard of such. I hope the new ones don't require that kind of maintenance. All the old projectors that I am familiar with are like that battery bunny you see on TV. They just keep going and going.

Can you think of any other kind of machanical equipment that comes even close to the longevity and continuous quality of performance and endurance of theatre projection equipment?

If the International Projector Corporation (Simplex) had manufactured automobiles, I'd still be driving a 1945 model.
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Re: Your Oldest Projector 21 Nov 2002 11:03 #21407

  • John Pytlak
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Tear down and rebuilding should be done on an as-needed basis. There are obvious things that need to be replaced or changed (e.g., belts, oil) on a routine basis. But major overhaul is usually dictated by excessive play in the gear train, unsteadiness or travel ghost that can't be corrected, unusual noise or vibration, major oil leaks, etc.

As noted, film projectors and soundheads are generally very reliable, often giving decades of dependable service in use to 12 hours every day.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: 585-477-5325 Cell: 585-781-4036 Fax: 585-722-7243
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Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Your Oldest Projector 21 Nov 2002 13:29 #21408

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I got this via email from a guy who is a Simplex enthusiast.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>From an old National Theatre Supply and many other sources the XL started production runs in 1950. Both #318 and #1606 are listed as 1950 machines. From what I can find out NTS branches had samples in 1949 and some prototypes for trials in the NY area earlier than that.

The Simplex Regular & Standard are really the same. When they first came out they were just called the "Simplex". First ones in regular production in the fall of 1911.

Simplex - 1911 starting #100
Supers - 1929 starting #38270
SP - 1933 starting #100
E-7 - 1938 (I have #E108) ninth machine in production. starting # 100
XL - 1950 starting #101
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

So both of my Simplexs are 52 years old.
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Re: Your Oldest Projector 21 Nov 2002 18:10 #21409

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I run all Brenkerts in my 5 single screens, I am sure the oldest is the BX-40 running in a theatre built in 1925--and was closed for about 2 years in the 80's, but no history if it is original or not. The next oldest is a BX-60 in a building turned into a theatre in 1934 and has ran continuously. Then I move up to BX-80's, one in a 1948, the other in a 1949 theatre--both were shut down for a year or so in the 80's. My newest is least used is a BX-100 in a 1950 theatre that was shut down for almost 10 years. My Tech just shakes his head every time he comes for a tech-check as the pictures in all venues are rock solid. I love my Brenkerts

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Re: Your Oldest Projector 23 Feb 2003 20:09 #21410

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I would like to find out where I can get used projection system. I will be opening a small theatre in the Caribbean, one screen aprox 100 seats. What price range do you think I would be looking at?
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Re: Your Oldest Projector 24 Feb 2003 01:08 #21411

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Most any supply house can sell you used equipment. Make sure it's one that will rebuild the stuff for you. Prices vary from say $900 for a Motiograph AA to $4700 for a Simplex XL head. Because of your location I would suggest you buy stuff that is made by a company still in business. Try [url=http://www.iceco.com.]www.iceco.com.[/url]

Bob Allen
The Old Showman

[This message has been edited by revrobor (edited February 24, 2003).]
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Your Oldest Projector 24 Feb 2003 23:38 #21412

considering the film rental and shipping cost for Jamacia 100 seats would not be very viable
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Re: Your Oldest Projector 02 Mar 2003 23:27 #21413

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No Problem, Mon
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