Bell & Howell Company, Chicago, Illinois                                   1922-1945+/-



Later 3-hole pulley 400-foot magazine for the Bell & Howell 2709 B 35mm motion picture camera.

This style succeeded the 4-hole pulley design that was seen between 1915 and early 1922:

                                                                                               4-hole pulley design



By April, 1922, pulleys having a 3-hole design appear in Photoplay Magazine, pictured in an article about Marion Davies entitled "Re-Introducing Miss Davies".  By August, 1923, the 3-hole design is also seen in Bell & Howell's advertisements for the 2709, and would continue to be found on their 400-foot magazines manufactured through WW2.  Based on surviving examples, it appears to have been the last pulley design for Bell & Howell's 400-foot magazines.

With the exception of those WW2 era magazines manufactured for the government or military having wrinkled (or textured) finishes, 3-hole pulley magazines are generally encountered with a factory high-gloss black enamel finish.  However, several earlier magazines as well as this Serial No. 1499 example have been seen with textured finishes, probably dating to the early to mid-1920's:


Many Bell & Howell magazines were repainted or refinished over the years.  The textured finish seen here, however, appears factory original with no overspray around the shield or any other indications it was ever refinished:




While Bell & Howell's post-WW2 1,000-foot magazines are found with solid-disc pulleys, I've yet to come across any post-WW2 400-foot magazines with solid-disc pulleys.


With the introduction of the 3-hole pulleys, Bell & Howell's 400-foot magazines now featured their familiar logo shield showing a serial number and in most cases, the February 13, 1917 patent date covering the magazine's design. This date refers to Patent No. 1,215,534 which was applied for on February 6, 1915.  The logo shield was located in the area between the film chamber lids:


                 Bell & Howell logo shield on 3-hole pulley magazine shown at the top


When dating these magazines based on their hardware, it should be noted that pulleys, spindles and rollers could have been changed out over time, as repairs or replacements were needed.  However, with regard to the 3-hole example shown here, the pulleys appear original and consistent with the magazine's characteristics for this production era.


As with most other Bell & Howell 2709 components, their metal magazines are seen very infrequently today.  The earlier 4-hole, 5-hole and 6-hole pulley magazines are scant or almost non-existent, and the 3-hole design is the one seen most often today.            




             Ad from The American Cinematographer, August, 1923 depicting the 3-hole pulley magazine



Patent No. 1,215,534 for a "Film Magazine for Cinematograph or Motion Picture Cameras" was granted to Albert S. Howell on February 13, 1917.  Later, magazines manufactured for the civilian market during WW2 would be constructed of wood, since aluminum and other metals were needed for war production.  These typically have a chrome logo shield with simply "Bell & Howell Co., Chicago", sometimes having a serial number and sometimes not.     




                                                                        Source: Google Patents




                                                                   Source:  Google Patents