MITCHELL 16MM TYPE MATTE BOX AND SUNSHADE
Mitchell Camera Corporation, Glendale, California 1960's - Early 1970's
This 16mm Type Matte Box and Sunshade, Model I-V-71 was manufactured by Mitchell for their 16mm Professional motion picture camera. This unit, mounted on double arms (rods), would have been positioned in front of the camera's lens to shade unwanted light and to facilitate the use of 2-inch filters or diffusion discs and a pola screen (polarizing filter). The unit has provision for both horizontal and vertical adjustment. Its white finish indicates it was made for a government, military or scientific application.
Patent No. 1,991,814 was granted to George A. Mitchell on February 19, 1935 for the matte box's basic design:
Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
This particular 16mm matte box and sunshade differs from most that Mitchell manufactured for their 35mm and 65mm cameras, being significantly smaller in size and having no flexible bellows. Mitchell did, however, offer a matte box and sunshade model for the16mm Professional that is equipped with bellows. This example bears a property tag for New Mexico Tech, a science, engineering and research university located in Socorro, New Mexico. The character "I" in the model number indicated the matte box was made for use with Mitchell's 16mm cameras, and that designation can also be found on viewfinders and some motors, as well. Based on the Mitchell tag's Glendale, California address, this matte box could have been manufactured sometime between 1946 and the mid-1970's when Mitchell moved to Sun Valley. Mitchell's white finishes can be found on both 35mm and 16mm equipment, and although probably available in the late 1940's, they came into more widespread use in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
Mitchell's lighter finish arose from the need to reflect harmful sunlight. The company's standard and more well known darker finish generated more heat in extreme climate conditions, leading to film damage. Today, almost all surviving Mitchell cameras, viewfinders, motors and magazines (such as the 400-foot example shown below), that were originally finished in white enamel, now exhibit extreme wear and yellowing as a result of the conditions under which they were used:
This matte box/sunshade appears to have been little used, if any, which is a rarity when it comes to Mitchell's white-finished equipment.
For size comparison, this 16mm matte box/sunshade is shown next to one of Mitchell's matte boxes for their 35mm cameras: