VICTOR ULTRA CINE CAMERA
Victor Cine Sales Corporation, New York City 1924
By 1924-1925, Victor's equipment was being sold by the Victor Cine Sales Corporation, 242 W. 55th Street, New York City. The company's name appears on a tag affixed to the Victor Ultra Cine Camera shown here, and advertisements have been found from 1925 with this corporate name. More research is needed to determine whether this was a separate company established to handle sales and distribution, or an entirely new business altogether. Earlier products such as the Victor Safety Cinema (1917) and later products such as Victor's Model 3, 4 and 5 Cine Cameras, and various models of their Cine Projector from the late 1920's and onward, bear the Victor Animatograph label.
Powered by a lead-acid battery supplied by the Willard Storage Battery Company, the motorized 16mm Ultra Cine was a step up from the 1923 Victor Cine-Camera which was hand cranked like most early amateur movie cameras. The Ultra Cine was also equipped with an ingenious Newton-style finder. By adjusting a mirror, it could be used as an eye-level or waist-level finder, retracting into the body when not in use. Per Alan Kattelle, noted cine collector and historian, "unfortunately, the battery was not up to the task demanded of it; it discharged too quickly and had a tendency to leak. Only 80 of the cameras were produced, priced at $140." With a high price, apparently very little advertising and performance issues from the onset, the Ultra Cine quickly proved unpopular.
Victor's introduction of their spring-wound Model 3 Cine Camera in 1926, and the Ultra Cine not appearing in Central Camera Company's catalog for 1925-1926, suggests that the camera was produced in 1924 and likely ceased by year-end. At least 6 examples are known to exist, and most are likely missing their batteries. This example has its original strap and battery box, appearing otherwise complete with the exception of its batteries.
All said, this makes the Ultra Cine very rare, so don't pass up the opportunity to acquire one if ever given the chance.