Simplex Motion Picture Projectors

Simplex Projectors




THE American Simplex projectors made in New York by the International Projection company were installed in a number of super cinemas including the Paramount and Roxy in New York. They were also distributed worldwide. The New York Paramount had three machines and Hall and Connolly continuous feed high intensity lamps. It was reported that beneath the pedestal of each projector was a recessed, coveted pocket and outlet box from which the asbestos covered lamp leads are led up through the centre of each pedestal to the switch box and lamp. All the conduit being concealed gave the room an unusually neat and dignified appearance.

In 1923 the machines were installed at the London Palladium. The Holborn Empire was also equipped with them. In 1930 at The Carlton in Essex Road London they were installed with Peerless high intensity arcs and Thide electric change overs. The Carlton also installed the Brenograph effects projector. In 1928 at the Broadway Stratford four Simplex machines were installed with Ashcraft high intensity arcs. At the Astoria old Kent Road, London there were back in 1930 Western Electric sound and Hall and Connolly high intensity arcs partnered the Simplex installed by J Frank Brockliss.

Astoria old Kent Road

A report in the Bioscope magazine dated December 11 1929 says: Owing to the pressure of Continental orders, J Frank Brockliss Ltd, decided to enlarge their organisation in France. A completed stock of Simplex projectors, spare parts and similar projection equipment, such as the company handle in London, will be held in stock in Paris. In this manner excellent service is assured to the many Continental users of Simplex projectors, over one hundred of which have been installed during the past twelve months. Another Bioscope report from June 2 1921 says: In spite of depressing trade reports generally, the Imperial Film Company Ltd, state that Simplex projectors are selling briskly. Between May 15 and the end of the month, no less than nine machines were installed in London and the South alone; three at the Coronation Theatre Manor Park; two at the Prince’s Pavilion, Walthamstow; two at the Rivoli Whitechapel and two at the Savoy Picture House Plymouth. Since the Imperial Film Company Ltd started distributing the Simplex projector in Great Britain, son eighteen months ago, they have sold several hundred machines.

In the 1920s a Peter H Griffiths wrote a number of articles for the Bioscope magazine on the projection rooms of some of America’s finest cinemas. One of the theatres’ he dealt with was the Proctors theatre in New York, which housed Motiograph machines. There were round ports in this theatre. In March 1931 the Select cinema Redditch installed new G Model RCA sound equipment with Simplex machines and little known Hahn Goertz carbon arcs. Finally, the idea of a Cinemascope type picture was given a mention in the Bioscope of October 14 1931. It said: Last week, in four of the Paths Natan halls, public demonstrations were given, after each seance, of the Hypergonar. This is the original optical invention of Henri Chretien, for giving wide pictures by the projection of standard width film on which the images are compressed.

The Hypergonar gives expansion both horizontally and vertically. The images are not merely magnified, but optically extended without distortion. The best demonstration was that given at the Ermitage Pathe, where the Hypergonar was adapted by Brockliss and company to Simplex projectors. The demonstrations appear to have been highly appreciated by the public. Pathe Cinema S A has bought the world patent rights, and experiments are being made in the Pathe Natan laboratories Joinville. In the 1930s, cinemas were built with the coming of wide screen pictures in mind, building them with wide prosceniums, which didn’t accommodate wide pictures for several years. Could it have been the war and lack of money that held back the Cinemascope picture until the 1950s?

David A Ellis©