Los Angeles Motion Picture Company, aka L. A. Motion Picture Company, Los Angeles, California      1911 - 1914 


This Los Angeles 35mm Motion Picture Camera was built by the Los Angeles Motion Picture Company, Los Angeles, California, also known as the L. A. Motion Picture Company, and finally as the L. A. Utility Manufacturing Company, a manufacturer and supplier known mostly for their professional motion picture equipment.


With few references to the company found, the camera's model is unidentified. One known model, the "Angelus" shown in the advertisement below, differs slightly in construction from the camera shown here, but appears similar in dimensions. This camera also differs from two other L. A. Motion Picture Company examples found on the internet, one of which appears similar in size. One other L.A. Camera profiled on Sam Dodge's website, appears larger in physical dimensions than the example shown here, but is very similar in construction and is believed to have a 400-foot capacity. During this period, motion picture cameras were constantly being modified or redesigned as needs or technology evolved. This, together with L.A. Motion Picture Company being a smaller manufacturer with limited production, makes identification of any particular model even more difficult.



      Ad from a Souvenir, Picture Player Camera Men's Ball, Rutherford's January 16, 1914           Source: The Internet Archive


However, based on the following article "The Angelus C-1 Camera" from Motion Picture News, July 29, 1916, this camera is probably a later and improved version of the Angelus C-1. This camera is equipped with two sprocket drives and a rewind (or reverse) capability, having a pulley for the upper film magazine in addition to the lower take-up pulley. Having two sprockets versus the larger single sprocket and the reverse capability, would represent an evolution in the design:


      Book page image


      Book page image


      Book page image


As Sam Dodge points out, the L.A. Camera was the product of a time where, because of the Motion Picture Patents Company (also known as the Edison Trust) restrictions on the manufacture and use of motion picture equipment, cameras were being assembled in the United States using movements that were imported and placed within camera boxes built here in an attempt to bypass the Edison Trust's licensing requirements.  Sam Dodge's L.A. Camera with a 400-foot capacity, and the few other L.A cameras seen with 200-foot and 400-foot magazines, indicates the company made at least two models.


It's unknown whether the L. A. Motion Picture Company ever produced a 16mm camera, but they did manufacture a tripod about the same time as this camera was built or just a few years later.


This example is missing its lens, film magazines, footage counter dial, leather carry strap and in all probability its viewfinder which would have been attached on top by the two mounting screws that remain. Otherwise, it appears to be complete with a nice patina and its manufacturer's tag:





The bears no type (presumably a model number) or a serial number in the spaces provided. Interestingly, none of the other L. A. motion picture cameras or tripods I've encountered so far, appear to have any infomation provided in these "Type" and "Serial No." fields. The number "10", most likely an assembly number and not a serial number, is found stamped on the insides of the front panel and the side doors and the interior base.

This L.A. Motion Picture Company camera's size, at 12-1/4" in height, 5-1/2" in width and 12-3/8" in depth, is smaller than other professional 35mm cameras such as the Gennert, Moy & Bastie, Williamson, Bioscope and the Prestwich Model 5, which all had 400-foot film capacities. Although the film magazines are missing on this example, based on the camera's physical dimensions, the size of the magazine's compartment and the camera's film footage counter registering 200 feet for each rotation of the indicator, it's believed this camera had a 200-foot capacity. 



It's interesting to note that the Pathe Professional 35mm with a 400-foot capacity, had a film footage counter that only registered 100 feet for each rotation of the indicator. This meant the cameraman had to keep a mental or written note as to each time the counter passed that 100-foot mark on its way towards reaching the camera's 400-foot +/- magazine maximum.


Compared against more prominent professional motion picture camera makers, the L.A. Motion Picture Company's approximate 13-year existence was rather brief. Only a handful of their cameras and support apparatus have been seen, and anything bearing the company's name can honestly be considered rare today.


For more information on the L. A. Motion Picture Company Panoramic Tripod, and the company itself, look for it under the "Amateur Cinematography" section of this website or click on the links below:


Los Angeles Motion Picture Company - Panoramic Tripod

Antiquephotographica.info - Amateur Cinematography