Educator

 

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THE EDUCATOR

 

The guy selling this on eBay did a first-rate job of photographing and researching this very rare projector, so I'll let him

explain it in his own words.

 

"As 35mm movie projectors go, this is certainly one of the rarest. It is so scarce that many seasoned collectors of

cinema equipment are not aware of its existence. It is branded simply as the Educator and was made by the

Motion Picture Machine & Film Co. of St. Louis Missouri. Production began with the filing of patents in 1916 and

did not last for very long. It is believed that fewer than 500 machines were ever built.

 

Currently, there are only four examples of this projector known to exist, including this one. Of the four known,

this is one of two that is complete and in good condition. Of the other 3 machines, one is missing the original

tripod and reel arms, and one has a main casting which is broken into two halves. The projector offered here

is totally complete down to the last screw. The original crank handle has two very old weld repairs, and the

lamp housing has a few dents in the spun aluminum. Otherwise there are no broken or damaged parts. When I

found the projector one of the 3 aluminum and brass leg adjustment clamps were missing. Using one of the two

remaining originals as a sample, I had an exact replica fabricated by a professional machinist. I have shown a

close-up photo of the replica clamp as well as one of the originals. As you can see, aside from the metal being

un-oxidized on the replica, they are totally identical. All other parts are original to the machine.

 

One nice thing about the Educator is its small size. As you see it in the photos, it measures 57 from the top of

the upper reel to the floor. From front to back it is 31 and each of the 3 legs are 34 apart where they touch

the ground. With such a small footprint it can be comfortably displayed in just about any size room or office.

Also, because it is almost entirely made of aluminum, you can easily pick it up and move it around when fully

assembled. The appearance of the Educator is very unique. I can honestly say that there are no other 35mm

movie projectors that look anything like it. It has a very futuristic and modern look, especially with all of the

bare aluminum. It looks more like a prop from a Buck Rogers film than a circa a WWI motion picture machine.

 

Mechanically, I think that the Educator is best described as bizarre. The first thing that I found odd about it was

the absence of a shutter of any sort. At first I thought that the shutter might be missing, but after seeing that

none of the other 3 examples had a shutter I realized that it was designed and built without one! Also I was able

to find the original patent drawings (which I have a link to below) These show the entire design of the machine

and clearly no provisions for a shutter blade were ever made.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ORIGINAL 1916 PATENT DRAWINGS.

 

Another unconventional design feature is the way in which the intermittent movement is driven. The crank shaft

is attached directly to a large round gear. When turned, this gear drives a horizontal worm gear which has the

intermittent disc and a large flywheel attached to it. By looking at this backwards and very awkward design you

would think that the crank handle would be very hard to turn, but surprisingly it is turns very easily and smoothly.

The intermittent movement is also very strange. It is a somewhat similar to the drunken screw design and is

nothing like the conventional star and cam that was so widely used. A link to the original patent drawings for

the intermittent is below. It is well illustrated, showing and explaining in detail how the movement works.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ORIGINAL INTERMITTENT PATENT PAPERS.

 

Overall the projector is in excellent condition and looks great. I have carefully cleaned it and it is ready for

display. There is some minor rust and oxidation to the metal, but nothing serious. The wood tripod shows normal

wear to the original finish. The mechanism turns very smoothly and freely and all parts move and function as they

should. The original lens is free from optical defects and focuses smoothly. The cloth insulated electrical cord is in

great shape with no fraying. The original white porcelain light socket style electrical plug is intact and excellent

shape. Inside of the lamp house is a very old 1000 watt mogul base incandescent projection bulb. It is well used

with darkened glass but still working. Also the condenser lenses are in place and in excellent shape with no chips or

cracks.

 

Also included is an enlarged color photo copy of a 1916 magazine advertisement for the Educator. This is the only

piece of published literature that I have ever seen for this projector. It is quite entertaining to read. Like pretty

much every other manufacturer of their time, they make some pretty outlandish claims regarding the features

and abilities of their machine. My personal favorite is their reference to the cast aluminum as Mangum Metal,

the lightest and strongest known Also their assertion that Exclusive patents make it absolutely fire proof is

hilarious. I suppose they must be referring to the metal parts not being combustible! A wonderful opportunity

for Towns Without Electricity is quite an odd statement since the light source is an ELECTRIC BULB. The

illustration is pretty funny too, it shows a young boy operating the projector from the side without a crank."

 

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