September 29, 2011

Bell & Howell

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Here is my dad’s Bell & Howell Electric Eye 8mm movie camera. It was manufactured in 1959. I’m guessing that’s the year he bought it. He used it on every family vacation, Christmas and family gathering at least through the 60s. Maybe into the 70s. My mother still has some undeveloped 8mm film lying around the house. 8mm time capsules that might be worth opening … er .. developing.

About the camera:

  • It has three lenses, normal, telephoto and wide.
  • The viewfinder has color coded framing lines built in it so you can properly frame you subject accordingly. Assuming, of course, you remember which lens you are using.
  • There is no battery. Wind the motor. Shoot. Repeat.
  • It is unbreakable. Well, that’s probably not entirely true. If you drop it, it is more likely to break the floor. It is all metal. A heavy metal with a mottled finish for grip.
  • Of course, the lenses are all glass.

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  1. It’s amazing to actually contemplate what it took to build stuff like this. What a beautiful little machine! And built to survive a nuclear blast. Too cool!

  2. Wow, that is quite the camera. I can only imagine how heavy that is as things from the 50s and 60s were built relatively well. Sure wouldn’t want that falling on your toes. So, does it work?

  3. That looks like it could be really fun to play with. Assuming you can get some film. Nice shot today I like how it’s framed.

    1. Author

      Thanks guys. Yes, it appears to work. I’m hoping to find some 8mm film somewhere and play with it. I also have the projector that goes with it. Same manufacturer. Same steel construction. It would be cool if I could get that working as well.