Revere Camera Company, Chicago, Illinois          1939



Introduced in 1939, the "Revere Super 8mm" was the Revere Camera Company's first movie camera. In reality, it used regular 8mm wide film, as the Super 8 format wouldn't exist for another 26 years. The origin of Revere's "Super" designation is unknown, but the name played well as the company entered the amateur movie camera market. Revere also used the "Super 8mm" name on their cine film for the "Super 8mm" and on their first 8mm movie projector introduced at the same time:

                                 Super 8mm Projector - Early version


The earliest known versions had the red and black  "Revere Super 8mm Projector" tag on the base, along with "Model Super 8" on a black-finished motor/lamp switch plate and a tension knob-style speed control:




                         Super 8mm Projector - Early version



                          Super 8mm Projector - Early version



As the Super 8mm Projector transitioned during late 1939 or early 1940, later versions would retain the "Revere Super 8mm Projector" tag, but "Model 80" was now found on the black-finished motor/lamp switch plate and the tension knob-style speed control was replaced by a rheostat with a dial selector. Following the transition in 1940, the Super 8mm Projector was renamed and badged the "Revere Eight", with various 80-series model designations that would follow. Also at this time, the motor/lamp switch plates appear to begin transitioning from a black finish to brown and Revere's finishes on both their cameras and projectors were also transitioning from olive drab to a brown or bronze finish.


Revere's Super 8mm camera used single-width (or pre-split) 8mm film, instead of the double 8mm spools that had previously been introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1932. The camera was designated "Model C8" and "Single 8" on its maker's tag, indicating it used an 8mm wide roll of film:



This was in contrast to the 25-foot 16mm width of a "Double 8", which after exposing 25-feet on one side of the film, the spool was reversed and the other side of the film was then exposed. Once processed, the film was split down the middle and spliced together, resulting in 50-feet of 8mm film. As a film width, single 8mm achieved some popularity with movie cameras such as Bell & Howell's Filmo Straight Eight (1935) and the Universal Camera Corporation's Univex line that was introduced in the mid-1930's. Like the Revere Super 8mm, the Univex had its own patented spool design, which was not interchangeable with the Revere Super 8mm and vice versa. Despite all this and the introduction of cartridge-style magazine 8mm cameras by both Bell & Howell and Revere in 1947, the double 8 system would continue to dominate until the Super 8 format was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1965.

Single-width film for the Revere Super 8mm was manufactured by the Agfa-Ansco Corporation of Binghamton, New York. The film would be processed by one of seven designated Agfa-Ansco laboratories located in the United States and Canada. This 30-foot box of High-Speed Panchromatic Cine Safety Film is marked "Develop Before Dec-1942" with one of the flaps stating "Copyrighted 1939 Revere Camera Company":




The camera's design was conceived by Philmore F. Sperry of the Excel Auto Radiator Company, Chicago, Illinois, under Patent Design No. 114,603 which was filed for on August 26, 1938 for a "Motion Picture Camera" and granted on May 2, 1939. The patent was assigned to the Excel Auto Radiator Company:



                       Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


Patent Design No. 114,603 isn't cited on the camera's name tag, however, "U.S. Pat. No. 2,151,536, Other Patents Pending" is shown. Patent No. 2,151,536 for the Super 8mm's unique spool design, was granted to Philmore F. Sperry of Chicago, Illinois on March 21, 1939, this patent also being assigned to the Excel Auto Radiator Company. Revere's patented spool design precluded its use in anything but the Revere Super 8mm:





                      Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


The Excel Auto Radiator Company was started by Samuel Briskin in 1920, Briskin later forming the Revere Camera Company as a subsidiary to manufacture movie cameras. Sperry, as a designer for Briskin, held a number of photographic patents with Briskin family members as co-patentees on some, and several of which were assigned to either the Excel Auto Radiator Company or to the Revere Camera Company. The "Other Patents Pending" on the camera's name tag, may refer to some or all of the following patents for various design features, based upon their filing dates:


Patent No. 2,228,292 filed July 15, 1939 for Sprocket Mechanism for Projectors and the Like

Patent No. 2,294,250 filed October 29, 1938 for Footage Indicator

Patent No. 2,288,148 filed October 29, 1938 for Intermittent Film Feeding Means

Patent No. 2,289,600 filed January 13, 1940 for Motion Picture Camera

Patent No. 2,214,185 filed October 29, 1938 for Speed Control Means for Cameras and the Like

Patent No. 2,214,186 filed July 20, 1939 for Intermittent Film Driving and Framing Apparatus


This Revere Super 8mm, Serial No. 10260, is accompanied by its original box and frame insert. The box measures 6-1/4" long, by 4-3/4" wide, by 2-1/4" tall, and is easily much rarer than the camera itself.

Two other known examples of Revere's Super 8mm have 5-digit serial numbers starting with "10". Taken together with the relatively few Super 8mm's that have been seen, this may suggest that serialization for the entire production run started with "10" and that no more than 999 units were ever built. In truth, it was probably far less, as production is believed to have lasted for less than a year.


It's unknown as to when production of the Revere Super 8mm ceased. But by 1940, Revere had introduced their Model 88 (single-lens) and Model 99 (3-lens turret) cameras in Double 8, which were nearly identical in shape and slightly larger than the "Super 8mm" to accommodate the wider spool. The most significant differences were the shape of the primary viewfinder, the film spool width, the redesigned film spindles, turret feature and lenses offered and the door-mounted finder on the turret model which was specific to the lens being used:

                      "Super 8mm"                       Model 88

                      "Super 8mm"                       Model 88



Today, the Revere Super 8mm is rarely seen, and its original box almost never.



















                        5"x10" Revere Authorized Dealer plaque