Zeiss 16mm



I have a Zeiss Icon machine with the two spools side by side under the mech. One problem is the finish like so many machines, there is a sort of lacquer over the black paint. This has deteriorated with time and is now patchy, dulled and vaguely sticky and impossible to get to look good. That Loffler man (again) suggested methylated spirits; this does seem to remove the lacquer, but also some paint. Whether this is the meths or just paint that has over time drifted away from its partner metal so that this new challenge has broken the remaining bonds, revealing the shallowness of their residual commitment to each other and so leading to divorce (poetic metaphor, eh?) is unclear. Still experimenting. Can anyone contribute experience? Update. Have now finished stripping the lacquer off the Zeiss, using both meths and surgical spirit. On the main casting, paint is not affected; some effect on the parts that are just painted steel, but it does seem limited to areas of poor finish. A note of warning, however; on Bolex machines the top lacquer coat is the colour coat. The meths will remove it, leaving you with a very odd looking beast. As with anything like this, test on a small out-of-sight bit first. (The other thing about the Bolex PA/DA is, even if some twit hasn't over-lamped it at some point, the lamphouse discolours and/or rusts. Does anyone know a colour match for that strange Bolex shade?)

Some pictures now of the Zeiss. I had to take it apart as it would not go, so did a bit of rewiring as well.

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Reading from left to right, we have before and after pix re lacquer. The dull finish is before any polishing; actually not bad in its own right. You can see I worked round a little arrow transfer - the meths would no doubt have removed it. Cotton buds were a blessing in this job. Then motor/lamp/switch wires, using the new heat resist stuff I mentioned. The fault lay in the switch. In the off position, it comes to rest against part of the fibre body of the switch, with some force. Over time, this had worn a slight dent into the fibre, which was stopping the contact from moving when the switch was operated. The switch seemed to work from the outside, but on the inside nothing happened. Then we have the motor itself, the motor resistance, again re-wired, and finally a view of the innards from the back with the motor removed. At back right, in the hole where the motor was, you can just see a little device, which links thru to a button on the outside. It appears to be a commutator cleaner; there is a pad of felt which can be brought into contact with the commutator by pressing on the button outside. You can also see at the bottom of the main shutter a gauze centrifugally-operated heat filter. Not sure I understand why you want a filter to come into operation only when the machine is running, as appears to be the case. Maybe I'm getting something wrong.


Here now is a picture of the machine as finally re-assembled. I have also included a pic to show an irritating design fault (left). If you look closely


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at the lower sprocket guard, you can see a little tab for opening the guard for threading. You can also see a slot that leaves only a tiny point of

connection at each end of the curved section to which the tab is attached, to join to the rest of the guard. What is maybe less obvious is that

this little piece has broken off and is just placed in situ for the pic. The spring on the guard is quite strong and it seems absolutely inevitable that

the tab should break off (I've seen another just the same). It's not terribly serious, just an irritation.

Pic 3 I have borrowed this pic from the Curzon website to show the improvement made to the poorly-designed lower sprocket guard on my machine.


However, investigating this gave me a small piece of new info. If you look at the main pic, you can see a small tag above the lens, attached to a

sort of not-exactly-round ring that fits very loosely round the lens and slides up and down. I could not figure out what on earth it was for. I discovered

that if you fully open the sprocket guard referred to above, it engages with this ring thing and is held up while you thread. Pulling the tag up releases

the guard.



I've processed another Zeiss into my collection, a Kinox N. It had, I fear, been rather neglected by being exposed to damp. In consequence, much of

the brightwork was quite badly rusted, requiring sanding while rotating at speed in a drill. The worst bit, a curved guard round the back of the lamphouse,

had unfortunately to be done by hand. My experience of some early nickel plate is pretty negative - either there was nothing better or they simply didn't

put it on thick enough. It detracts from what is otherwise high quality engineering.


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First is the highly complex claw mechanism. It's a 3-pin claw and is one of those that does a skip between each pull-down. I don't really know why this

approach was ever used - it must increase wear. (Someone has now told me - it means the claw mech is moving twice as fast and so gives a quicker

pull-down. I think this means smaller shutter blades and so more light thru to the screen.) The bronze circle at the back is the centrifugal heat shutter.

Top left is a little reservoir with a felt pad, which you can fill with oil from the outside thru a little sliding porthole. Second is the partly spherical prism

that turns the light from the lamp thru the necessary right angle. Rather better than a tatty bit of mirror. Third is a general view form the back. The back,

top and sides of the projector all hinge back in one piece in the direction of the camera to provide excellent access. The odd contraption centre right

above the motor is a resistance controlling the brightness of the lamp. This has a mechanical linkage from a knob on the front of the machine, and is

also mechanically interlinked with the main switch, so that it is impossible to operate the switch unless the lamp is set at minimum brightness. You can

also see the pulley arrangement for the top spool arm, which can be pushed down until the spindle is only just above the top of the machine.

Pic 4 is the unusual two-part front gate. The non-aperture plate is mounted on three springs and has a tension adjustment. I don't know what this

is supposed to do. Then the complete machine (lens out for cleaning). Like I said, lots of bits suggesting high quality engineering, but that

nickel.... ACW reviewed the machine in December 1937; an ad and the review are the final pix.


zeiss-16mm This looks like a Zeiss 16, too.