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SOLD- Bell & Howell 2709 Hand Crank 35mm Camera - Hoover Dam Camera

  • Bell &  Howell 2709 Hand Crank 35mm Movie Camera
  • Bell &  Howell 2709 Hand Crank 35mm Movie Camera
  • Bell &  Howell 2709 Hand Crank 35mm Movie Camera
  • Roy Wagner with this B&H 2709 on the set of "The Beast"
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Product Description

Bell & Howell 2709 Hand Crank 35mm Camera


This camera is incredible, the provenance and history, and the lightening fast Cooke Speed Panchro's and Baltar lenses, valuable by themselves. These lenses are valued at $10,000 USD in today's market for un-coated speed primes. I know because I sell them and have had some huge offers for the lenses. They are in beautiful condition with superb hand made glass capable of taking the most amazing images so sought after today with digital adaptation.

Package Includes

  • Bell & Howell 2709 Hand Crank Camera (No. 1006) – Significant Filmography! Read On!
  • Taylor Hobson Cooke Speed Panchro 24mm f/2.0
  • Bausch & Lomb Baltar 40mm) f/2.3 (Note, this replaces the top lens shown)
  • Cooke Speed Panchro 50mm f/2.0
  • Cooke Panchro Anastigmat 3” (75mm) f/2.5
  • (2) 400-ft Magazines (one metal, one wood)
  • (1) crank
  • (1) Mitchell side finder
  • (1) rack over base
  • A modern Tundra case, which houses the camera body, lenses, one magazine, crank, Mitchell side finder, and rack over base

About Bell & Howell 2709 Hand Crank Cameras

The most-used studio camera in the world just before World War I was the Pathé—until Bell & Howell introduced the 2709 motion picture cameras in 1911 and changed everything! They were used for early silent films and they were expensive! So expensive that only studios—and Charlie Chaplin (plus a few others)—could buy them. But there was a great reason for the high price: the Bell & Howell 2709, from the beginning, has boasted the steadiest camera movement ever made.

Why so steady?

All Bell & Howell 2709 cameras press each frame of film on to two fixed pilot pins. Because these two pins are fixed and don't reciprocate in any mechanical way they are not prone to mechanical wear. The Bell and Howell engineers made perfectly registered images by placing one pin on the right side and one pin on the left side of each frame as it is exposed. One pin holds the film steady top to bottom and the other holds the film steady right to left.

About THIS Bell & Howell 2709 (Serial #1006)

Bell & Howell 2709 #1006 was purchased from Bell and Howell on February 10, 1933, by Six Companies Inc., which was a joint venture of construction companies that was especially formed to build the Hoover Dam, one of the most important pieces of American engineering history.

Nearly 80 years later, the camera is still in extraordinary working order, having been in continuous use by an active member of the American Society of Cinematographers. It has even being used to augment the most modern digital cameras for special effects work. It’s most recent work was on television series: “CSI: Las Vegas,” “Burn Notice,” “Kidnapped,” “House,” “The Beast,” “The Unusuals” (Jeremy Renner), and several feature films including: “Blood and Bone,” “Streets of Blood” (Val Kilmer and Sharon Stone), and “Shackles.”

Cosmetically, this 2709 is in unusually beautiful shape. Mechanically, it is excellent and does not scratch film.

Historic Filmography – Hoover Dam Construction

After winning the bid for the project (approximately $49 million dollars—or $712 million today), for Six Companies Inc., buying a coveted Bell & Howell 2709 to document the Hoover Dam’s construction was not only a drop in the bucket—it was a necessity! Who wouldn’t want to document such a feat? And the 2709 was the camera to do it.

Bought in February 1933, this Bell & Howell began filming in June 6 of that year with the first pour of concrete, and didn’t stop until the project was completed in May 1935. Six Companies Inc. documented every day, all phases of construction, even the smallest jobs on the construction site. They were dedicated to this for the entire project and filmed from before construction started until well after the job was done.

So it isn’t surprising that the film documentation of the Hoover Dam’s construction—and not just its engineering—made history. For documentary film making, Six Companies Inc.’s footage boasts footage that is envied by documentarians even today—footage that has set a standard for modern-day documentary film makers.

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