California Originals, 415 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, California      1946-1947


The Krown Kraft Pan-Tilt tripod head appeared in Popular Photography Magazine, August, 1946, a new product that permitted the tripod head to be tilted 70 degrees on the vertical and panned 360 degrees on the horizontal, locking in any position with a single turn of the wrist.


This amateur motion picture camera tripod head was designed by William H. Bliss of Natchitoches, Louisiana, with Patent No. 2,469,063 being granted to him on June 3, 1949. The simplicity of the design was a hardened-steel ball and socket arrangement having close tolerances to facilitate smooth movement and a secure grip when the tension mechanism was engaged. As the grip handle was rotated, a cam centrally located on one of the circular side frames caused both sides to compress, locking the head in position. The patent drawings differ from the final production model, but the essence of the design is there.

With the patent application having been filed on September 8, 1947, the head was already being produced at least a year earlier, this example being stamped "Pat. Appld. For".  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office record does not indicate the patent was assigned, but the announcement in Popular Photography Magazine states the manufacturer was California Originals of Los Angeles, California.



The head was marketed along with a lightweight tripod available in two sizes.  The head and tripod weighed less than 5 pounds, but was capable of supporting more than 250 pounds.


Not the first tripod to accommodate pan and tilt with a single control, but apparently the first to be able to lock the head in any position using this design.  Although the concept probably lives on in many tripods today, the Krown Kraft Pan-Tilt tripod head along with California Originals was to be short-lived.

Production probably continued into 1947, and by June of that year, it was found being offered at clearance.  While a clearance doesn't always indicate that manufacturing has stopped, little reference has been found so far to indicate that the tripod or head was still being sold. California Originals is found as early as 1941 in the Los Angeles City Directory, but no longer appears in the Los Angeles Telephone Directory for 1951.


Based on the foregoing, and that I've only encountered a few of these heads over the past 20-25 years, they never achieved any popularity and relatively few were ever sold.










                               Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office



                               Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office