Mitchell Camera Corporation, Los Angeles, California            1928 - 1929


Seen in advertisements as early as February, 1928, Mitchell's Friction Tilthead like those now being offered by other makers, was a huge step up from the two-crank designs previously in use over the past twenty-five years.

Heads with two cranks, one for panning and the other for tilting, required a cameraman and an assistant to fully operate the camera and the head. With the friction head's single control, both pan and tilt could be achieved by the cameraman faster, and simultaneously. The head and handle designs were covered under Patent No. 1,723,294 of August 6, 1929 and Patent No. 1,889,260 of November 29, 1932, both of which were granted to George A. Mitchell and assigned to the Mitchell Camera Company and the Mitchell Camera Corporation, respectively:



                                            Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office



                                             Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


Having a Los Angeles address on the "acorn" maker's tag places this example's manufacture between approximately February, 1928 and August, 1929, when Mitchell moved to West Hollywood. Being among the first of Mitchell's friction heads, the example shown here with Serial No. 220 has no model designation:






Other than the Los Angeles tag and a tilt tensioning knob that doesn't transcend the upper platform and the lower base (see the comparison below), this Mitchell Friction Tilthead is very similar to later models that would follow:


                                                                First model 1928 - 1929

                                                      Later model 1946 onward



The platform's edge and the base rim on this example have numbers and letters stamped, presumed to be casting marks:




Although the head shows considerable use, some of the original black wrinkle finish can still be seen, a signature characteristic of most Mitchell cameras and equipment. Despite being 90 years old, a fully functioning unit that could be used today...testament to its build quality, and that some things just don't change that much.


Mitchell's earliest cameras bearing the Los Angeles address are rarely seen, with magazines, viewfinders and other support equipment with this address being extremely scarce.















                                        From the American Cinematographer, February, 1928




                    From Mitchell Camera Corporation's August 1, 1934 catalog



                     From Mitchell Camera Corporation's August 1, 1934 catalog



                        From Mitchell Camera Corporation's August 1, 1934 catalog