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Home Movies: 1922

Home Movies: 1922

November 13, 1922. Mrs. Ed B. McLean and children. View full size. National Photo Company Collection. Who can identify the camera for us?


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Mitchell confirmed

The camera is a Mitchell Standard "rackover." The door latch and viewfinder are give-aways that it is an early model of this professional 35mm camera. They were used for decades, all the way into the "Star Wars" era and beyond... eventually getting re-manufactured with reflex viewing by Doug Fries in the early 1980's.

Note that she is "hand cranking" the camera - a common practice even after bulky motors were introduced. A brass flywheel attached to the movement made the "eight to one" drive shaft very smooth and the images sharp (2 cranks per second was the standard for 16 FPS silent movies)

The wooden "sticks" and aluminum "straight head" were also very effective; wood absorbs vibration for a rock solid foundation. These are "standard" sized legs (a pair of "sawed-off" legs would have been move convenient.)

You can be certain that this set-up was quite heavy to move around - my guess is that Mrs. McLean was one of the subjects of the family movie, and the cinematographer posed this shot as a "production still."

McLean, as in McLean, Virginia?

McLean, as in McLean, Virginia? Any connection?


Never mind the Camera

Ed. B Mclean was the owner/publisher of the Washington Post in 1922, and his wife was Evalyn Walsh McLean, who became a fixture of Washington society. Among Mrs. Mclean's other possessions was the Hope Diamond. The bulk of their life was so sad, it's nice to see her at an apparently happy time.

Mitchell Standard

I believe that is a Mitchell Standard camera, and a fairly early serial number, at that. According to my source, the Mitchell was first sold in 1921, and they sold 32 of them between then and June of 1923.

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