Akeley Camera, Inc., 175 Varick Street, New York City            Early-to-late 1920's



For use with an Akeley Camera and Tripod from the 1920's, this is the panoramic portion and the ball-and-socket base for an Akeley Gyro Head.  Photos below show the Tilting Arm assembly attached, required to mount the Akeley Camera. This style head is believed to be Akeley's earliest, probably introduced in the late teens prior to 1920 along with the Akeley Camera. Its manufacture would continue into the mid-to-late 1920's until Akeley's Universal Gyro Tripod replaced it in 1929. 

The entire unit, having gyroscopic movements for both the pan and tilt, incorporated a ball and socket design that permitted quick leveling of the camera.  I've referred to it for brevity's sake, as a "gyro head". However, the correct names as referenced in Akeley's price lists are "Panoramic Arm, with pan control mechanism", Tilting Arm with tilt control mechanism" and "Ball and socket with quick leveling unit and base".

Having a ball and socket mount, the upper portion of the head was equipped with a bubble level. This arrangement permitted the camera to be adjusted to 0 degrees horizontal, irrespective of the position or the extension of the tripod's legs. The lower base's underside has the "Akeley Camera, Inc." name molded in alongside "No. 95" which is stamped. The number "347" can also be found stamped on the cradle's top surface.

Patent No. 1,300,805 dated April 15, 1919 covered the design for the camera's tilting mount and the tripod's ball-mount adjustment feature:


                             Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


                             Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


                             Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office



Akeley cameras, lenses, tripods and other accessories are rare today.  All part of our early cinematographic past that's rapidly vanishing.





Photos showing the Tilting Arm (vertical tilting mount) that would have held the camera in place, and its attachment to the Gyro Head:









1920's Akeley Catalogue showing the Akeley Camera, Gyro Head and Tripod: