Sunday, February 3, 2013

Toy Movie Film Projector

Information about a Toy Movie Film Projector was doing the rounds.  It was around 1970.  I cannot precisely remember how I came to know, but it could be from a demo cum sale at the Dasara Exhibition. Someone later had shown me the shop where it was sold too.   This shop happens to be very close to where I now live and the small shed-like rooms of that portion is still existing. 

Let me make it clear that this post is not about something I converted, but only bought.  I am posting it here for a change, because some ingenious person ten thousand times better than me was selling his 'unbranded' machines fabricated from cheap and crude materials!

Cut pieces of 35 mm films were sold in little packets for 3 paise or so.  I had a few such films and they were great fun.  I was projecting them on the wall using a torch and a toy lens.  It was a joy to see the magnified image!  These film pieces were discarded portions of movie films from theatres.  Films sometimes snapped during operation which necessitated a cutting off a certain length from the reel and rejoining, rendering the pieces waste. Some enterprising persons collected these portions and made a buck or two out of this waste film.  We children fancied these tiny packets of film.

My father was a projection operator at his work.  So I fancied doing the same at home when I came to know about toy projectors being sold.  My pestering paid fruit. What a thrilling event it was to bring it home from that shop, fixing it on my bicycle carrier clip after paying twenty five rupees!!  It was a sum equal to about four months of school fees. 

I borrowed this image from the web to give an idea about how it was.  Not exactly like it, but you can imagine a crude one made of unfinished wood, with a handle on the right and the light came in from the top of the box. 

Since toy projectors were a fancy in those years, there was a demand for waste films and the longer strips used to be sold in small spools.  I had procured some through my aunt who had gone to Bangalore where it was sold in great number.  This is a reel, containing all the portions she had bought for me.

The projector's body was of scrap wood.  All the parts were from scrap material.  There was great ingenuity which had gone into it.  The delivery spool and the focusable lens unit having 3 lenses were fabricated from zinc sheets, moving gears and the rotating handle were of iron, all custom made.  A 60W bulb was fitted from the top which was removable.  The entire unit was painted in silver colour.

There was only the delivery spool and no collection spool.  After the show, we had lot of work rolling back by hand all the lengths of 'showed film' that would have snake up on the ground in a heap!  This is what you get for twenty five rupees.  The machine worked trouble-free, but broke, because I broke it for the lenses for my other projects! It became a victim of my curiosity and joined numerous items that met their end in this fashion.  

The lenses did not fit my  telescope project, but came in handy long later, that is just 4-5 years back when I used them to enhance power for my macro shots with my digital camera!  I could use up to four lenses.  At least two here are from that toy projector.  The identical fourth one which became the pocket magnifying lens. [Click on it].

1 comment:

  1. As I read this, I am reminded of how easy it is to make a movie now, Dinu! Oh, and I was reminded of the times we saw movies when we were in school. The teacher would have to rewind the film strip! I'd forgotten about that! Thanks for the memories, youse. Susan


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