Mitchell Camera Corporation, 665 N. Robertson Avenue, West Hollywood, California         1929- 1946

Spoke Pulley 400' Film Magazine for the Mitchell Standard 35mm motion picture camera.


Following Mitchell's earlier magazines having 6-hole and 8-hole pulleys, this 10-spoke pulley design emerged in the mid-to-late 1920's. Like the previous 6-hole pulley design, this believed first version of the spoke pulley was held on by a single set-screw, as seen on the magazine featured here:


Following the single set-screw design, the pulley would be held to the spindle shaft by a cap screw, the cap screw being retained by two smaller screws.  This was Mitchell's last pulley design, found on their magazines until they closed their doors in the late 1970's:

                                                                                          Spoke Pulleys with Cap Screw


The magazine was designed by John E. Leonard of Los Angeles, California, who also designed the Mitchell Standard.  Leonard, who held over a dozen patents related to the Mitchell Camera, was granted Patent No. 1,336,640 on April 13, 1920, having applied it on May 19, 1919:



                                                         Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office



This patent number is cited on Mitchell's "acorn" shield: 



Up until 1946 when Mitchell began manufacturing in Glendale, California, model numbers don't appear on their film magazines from the examples I've seen.  This doesn't hold true for some other Mitchell components built in West Hollywood, such as matte boxes and tripod heads which have been seen with model numbers.

Probably coinciding with the introduction of the spoke pulley, Mitchell's magazine shells were now being produced from a single casting. This manner of construction followed their earliest three-piece magazines wherein the two circular film chambers were attached to a singular base.

Also gone were the ribs (called "rods" in the patent wording) that lined the film chambers and the lid interiors to hold the film in line upon the spools. As with Mitchell's earliest magazines, these first spoke pulley magazines have smoother, lightly textured finishes.  Later on, Mitchell's magazines, cameras, viewfinders and matte boxes were generally characterized by their accentuated black wrinkle finishes.  Other than the white enamel finishes found on Mitchell's government, military or scientific-issued equipment, this black wrinkle finish is the one seen most often today.  The raised rims on the lids now have wide serrated bands, along with four raised bars that were cast into the lids to improve grip.


When dating the manufacture of these magazines, it should be noted that pulleys could have been changed out during repair, being replaced with those of a more current design or an earlier style. The maker's tag (or the lack thereof) is generally a better indicator of the period of manufacture.  However, research conducted by others on Mitchell's maker's tags regarding the transition of city names from Los Angeles to West Hollywood, suggests that the change on the tags occurred about 1933/1934.  There may be some merit to this given that the Los Angeles address continued to be shown in Mitchell's catalog illustrations until at least November, 1937.  This was well after their move to West Hollywood in August, 1929, suggesting that maybe Mitchell was in no hurry to update their name tags or their advertising to reflect the new location.  In 1946, Mitchell moved to Glendale, California and this is the address seen on most surviving equipment.

With respect to Mitchell's cameras, it should also be noted that cameras sent back to the factory for servicing, were in standard practice, issued a new tag reflecting the current factory's address. As an example, this is why Mitchell Standard No. 5 sold on April 8, 1922 and manufactured in Los Angeles, has an acorn tag with the later West Hollywood address.


Mitchell's cameras and equipment bearing the "West Hollywood" address are not seen very often.