princess princess princess princess princess

princess princess princess princess princess princess princess

I don't think one can class the Princess anywhere but the toy category. The second row is a series of pix I took mainly to study how the motor fits - my Princess is hand-cranked. Note, however, the case, which I have not seen before. It's actually very tricky to figure out precisely how the machine goes in once you have taken it out. Note also the pukka tranny - presumably the little encapsulated one was obviously not man enough once the motor was added. Not that the motor itself was man enough - I hear reports it struggles to do the job. Thanks to Dave Humphrey for bringing it along to let me photograph it.



December 2014


Bin playing with a motorised Princess (had hand-only before). Once I'd replaced a missing pulley and found a lamp it seemed to work OK, tho' who knows what it would do to film in the long term. Two notable points; it wouldn't take a 300' reel, which I had always assumed it would (until I figured out the sprung "smoothing" rollers were mounted wrong!) and second, the lens is dreadful, lacking contrast and definition and with a halo of light around the image on the screen further detracting from the appearance of the image. I tried a B&H filmovar 15-20mm f1.5 and the difference was huge. The picture was bigger and brighter and sharper. Only thing is, I found I was getting sprocket ghosting up from the bottom of the pic. It did not, however, seem to affect titles, which has me a little puzzled. Must have maladjusted the shutter while I was sorting it out - should be easy enuff to sort.



All this made me look at the old hand-cranked Princess and realise what a shocking state it was in. So, naturally, I have dismantled it and, as I know how you love such things, I have taken some gubbins pix for you (I have filed them as "Bare Princess").



princess princess princess princess princess princess princess


The projector has obviously been kept in the damp, in accordance with the British Standard for projector storage. Take pic 1. The legs have corroded under what I think is a very thin bit of nickel plate and so are pitted. It is therefore very difficult to get the pitting out - it's much deeper and more intransigent than you might think. I have cleaned up the shorter back leg with its (longer) socket, but if you look closely, you can see they are far from perfect. Mite replace the legs at least with new steel rods which will clean up easier. The mounts for the sprung rollers that try to compensate for the lack of sprockets were also quite rusty. You can also see from the type of screw extensively used in the Princess just one of the many cost-saving compromises the machine incorporates. This one also seems much lower quality than the motorised one, which has a better, more chrome-like finish on the legs and proper black feet; these red ones are beginning to go brittle. Also, the spacers on the motor frame are just black on the hand machine, not plated as on the motorised one.



Now the two expensive components, the main body, which seems to be steel, with the sharply-angled, threaded holes for the leg sockets and for the frame at the rear which carries the motor when there is one and the rear bearing. The front bearing can be seen in pix 4 & 5; both bearings are the simple, pointy-screw type. The best part of the machine is the stainless steel front, with the rear channel for the gate moulded into it. For the film guides and the front gate and lens carrier they have followed the Gem/Son (ugh!) pattern (note that the spool arm is also Gem-like). Actually, I have a very early Buckingham 9.5 conversion with the same guides and it works fine, so we will not knock it here. Very difficult to find alternative lenses that will fit, however, because of the narrow lens rube with no real way of enlarging it, but it looks like this one has a better lens than the motorised machine, tho' I have not tested it yet.



In pic 7 you can see on the opposite end to the claw pins the pivot that passes thru the circular stainless steel plate into the hole between the "legs" of the gate pivot. (I have replaced the knurled knob and washers on the pivot to avoid losing them; normally they would be on the front). The lever then allows a small range of adjustment, which gives true optical framing, tho' I suspect the knurled knob needs to be tightened after adjustment to avoid shaking loose. The shutter itself looks a bit odd with the thick outer ring; I can offer no explanation for the "notch" in the outer edge of the ring. As usual with machines with such low light output, there is one main shutter blade; other two are thinner "flicker" blades.


Now for the final missing pieces of the puzzle.


princess princess princess princess princess


The first two pix show my replacement lamp and its holder, corresponding to the original in the second pair of pix. The rest is unchanged. Note cheapness - a ten-a-penny switch, a very thin alu pressing with mirror and two-part lens, all on a sliver of paxolin. (The condenser was v. dirty so had to clean inside as well. Lens assembly can just be pushed up out of the top of the alu pressing; the lower element of the lens, which merely sits on the bottom of the socket, can then be removed to give access for cleaning). Note also that a) the plug socket for the motor is present, as was the wiring and the extra pulley, so an upgrade would nave been simple; b) the lamp (12v 20w) I have used happens to have an axial filament, ie vertical in the envelope rather than horizontal. Shouldn't make any difference. Had a quick test and lens seemed good, but shutter was catching on the top of my new lamp mounting so I had to dis-assemble. The old lamp that was in the machine is a genwine PathT jobbie, labelled 22v. I now need to find some 4-core cable as per original, (but less rotted). If you look closely at the lower part of the spool arm in pic 5, you can see why I was having trouble fitting a 300' spool. There are 2 holes visible in the side of the arm, below the main casting. As supplied, only the upper hole was present, and the arm with rollers on would not fit past the rear leg of the tripod, except by fitting it pointing forward (and so fouling the bigger spool size) . I have made an extra hole, therefore, in the location of the one on the manual machine (where the roller arm was fine), and the roller arm now fits properly, ie pointing to the rear.


I am finding more and more of my time taken up with restoration, whether a really deep clean and polish or partial re-painting or a nuts and bolts jobbie. Cine equipment these days seems very mucky and, in all too many cases, dangerous. I have just found yet another source of danger. The hand-cranked Princess had a round can as transformer, with no way to get inside - the wires just emerge. What I found was that not only were the wire ends where they connect to the lamp etc rotted and melting, they were the same all back to the tranny can. So no choice but to ditch it; just to confirm my suspicions I prised off a sort of paxolin lid at one end of the can, and found as expected that it was encapsulated or potted, ie the tranny was inside a solid lump of insulating stuff, which is presumably added soft if not actually liquid. I don't know enough to know what the advantages of this may be. The motorised one has a conventional-looking tranny, tho still with wires permanently connected.