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CINE KODAK SPECIAL II LUBRICANT


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#1 Lance Neame

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 04:21 AM

Hello,

I am in the process of resurrecting an old Cine-Kodak Special II (a clockwork/wind-up regular 16mm camera), and have been searching for a suitable modern lubricant to use.

I have looked at using high speed spindle oil, namely the following….
Mobil Velocite 6 (iso-10)
Shell Morlina 10 (iso-10)
Mobil Velocite 10 (iso-22)

Can anyone please advise if these are suitable choices for lubricating the bearings in these cameras, or suggest possibly a better option?

Thanks for your time in reading this post; any replies will be sincerely appreciated.
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#2 JD Hartman

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 09:24 AM

To find a substitute, you need to know more about the original lubricant. Do you have a container of it? Does it have any specs. on it? Any details listed in the camera manual? An off the cuff answer would be a quality clock oil, but I'd expect the camera mechanism operates at a greater temperature range, than any wind-up clock would see. Did you try calling Kodak to see if they might have a specification sheet for the product?
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#3 Mark Dunn

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 11:20 AM

Copy that. Kodak are proud of their heritage and will probably send you a bit for nothing if they still carry it.
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#4 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 09:44 PM

Ah the Rolls Royce of 16mm wind-up cameras!

By a strange coincidence I happen to have one of these exquisite creatures on my bench at the moment.
A friend who is a retired cameraman brought his in to show me. It runs so quietly it could almost be a sound camera! The spring can transport about 40 ft on one wind, that's over a minute at 24 fps. And a little bell rings when the spring is about to stop.

I have a copy of the repair manual that old timer cameras sells, but it is really only an exploded parts list with no service information at all. I also have a lovely spiral bound promotional booklet entitled "The Story of the World's Finest 16mm Movie Camera" that describes the original Special, but again there is no lubrication info.

Unfortunately Kodak haven't really made quality movie cameras since the 60's, and the last Special II was manufactured in 1961, so I really doubt Kodak could help. I have emailed them out of curiosity but I'm not holding my breath. I'm interested because we also have a Special II in our museum that's in need of some love if I ever get the time. The Kodak service centre listed in the manual was the Apparatus Service Department, Rochester 4, New York. Perhaps Kodak's New York office has some of the old technical specs?

Anyway, to attempt an answer, I haven't opened the camera but I would assume the bearings are steel in bronze sleevings, much like the Bolex. Bolex cameras use a light, white oil but I don't know the manufacturer. Any local Bolex techs would have some. Alternatively, contacting machine oil manufacturers with information about the bearing type, materials and application might yield some recommendations.
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#5 Thomas James

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 09:54 AM

Make sure that you use a synthetic oil.
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#6 Lance Neame

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 02:17 AM

:) Hi, thanks for the responses, particularly Dom.

I have the exploded parts list also, which in that regard, is of little help.
There has been reference to a military Cine-Kodak Special II Repair & Overhaul Manual, does such a thing exist I wonder?
Repair & Overhaul instructions would be invaluable, and definitely worth purchasing if anyone had a copy.

I have yet to begin work on my camera, and am gathering as much information as possible before I do.

Mineral oil, such as those listed, would be more appropriate than modern synthetics I presume?

I will keep searching……

BTW cinematography.com has already provided much useful information; I am pleased to have finally become a member.

Best Regards,
Lance.
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#7 Jim Carlile

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 02:03 AM

The original lubricant was whale oil. For real. They were very proud of this. It was loaded into special leak-proof bearings on that camera.

Anything will work, really-- unless you're going to take it to the Arctic or use it 24/7.
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#8 Jim Carlile

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 02:09 AM

P.S.

Check this out on the Cine Special. They all used it:

http://books.google....epage&q&f=false

Edited by Jim Carlile, 13 October 2010 - 02:10 AM.

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#9 JD Hartman

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 08:55 AM

P.S.

Check this out on the Cine Special. They all used it:

http://books.google....epage&q&f=false


It states that the mainspring is in a case filled with sperm oil. It doesn't say that the same oil was used to lubricate the bearings. Here's a manual: //www.cinekodak.org/Cine_Special.html It doesn't provide specifications on the oil either. This person might have more information: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/kodak.htm

Edited by JD Hartman, 13 October 2010 - 08:55 AM.

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#10 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 08:42 PM

The original lubricant was whale oil. For real. They were very proud of this. It was loaded into special leak-proof bearings on that camera.

Anything will work, really-- unless you're going to take it to the Arctic or use it 24/7.


Within reason you're probably right. The camera designers would specify a particular oil to keep the bearings running wear-free for as long as possible, within a certain temperature range. The oil needed to be viscous enough to form a barrier between shaft and bushing and not leak out, but not so thick as to clog the mechanism. Different bearing tolerances and materials would require slightly different oils, but generally they were all variations on clock oil. Some old cameramen I've talked to say they used Singer Sewing Machine oil on their wind-ups for years without a problem.

The article you linked to that mentions sperm whale oil is actually about a different camera, the much less refined Cine Kodak Eight. As previously pointed out, the article only states that the sperm oil was used in the sealed spring housing, not the exposed bearings. Sperm whale oil was a fantastic lubricant used for many years in precision mechanical devices, so I wouldn't rule it out though. It was widely used in car transmissions - apparently when they phased out its use in the 80's the transmission failure rate went through the roof until suitable synthetic replacements were found. The well known Nye oil used sperm whale oil, as did NASA for use in the sub-zero climate of space. There are internet rumours that the Hubble telescope still uses it, but I doubt that. Interestingly, Kodak, Fuji and Konica all hold current patents relating to image recording using whale oil.

For most old wind-ups I'd probably say just use clock oil, or Bolex oil, but the Special was a different class of camera, aimed at professionals like doctors and engineers to use in their practice. It pioneered the interchangeable magazine idea later utilised by Arri with their SR cameras. It was heavy and solid enough to be used extensively during WWII, but much more refined than the Bell and Howells. Check out this promotional movie from 1933:



The Special II refined the design even further. It's probably the most beautifully engineered wind-up camera ever made. But realistically, if you're going to the trouble of finding the proper oil, it would really need a complete overhaul, with new grease as well as oil.

And finding out the original grease would be a whole new adventure!
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#11 Mark Dunn

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 03:36 AM

No reason the Hubble shouldn't use it. It was designed in the 70s, built in the early 80s and launched in 1990 and although various assemblies have been renewed, I don't think they've done an oil job.
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#12 Lance Neame

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 10:43 PM

Cine-Kodak Special II Camera

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#13 Lance Neame

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 10:46 PM

Showing 200ft film chamber.

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#14 Lance Neame

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 11:13 PM

Showing internal view of the 200ft film chamber.

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#15 Lance Neame

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 11:16 PM

Rear view of camera 1.

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  • Cine_Special_II_4.jpg

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#16 Lance Neame

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 11:19 PM

Rear view of camera 2.

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#17 Lance Neame

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 11:30 PM

PAR Products Hollywood - 4 x C mount lens turret and reflex viewfinder conversion: Showing serial number 342 on base of turret:

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  • Cine_Special_II_6.jpg

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#18 Lance Neame

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 11:33 PM

PAR Products Hollywood reflex viewfinder: Showing serial number 568:

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  • Cine_Special_II_7.jpg

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#19 Lance Neame

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 11:36 PM

Cine-Kodak Special II Camera: Serial number 12984.

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#20 Lance Neame

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 03:56 AM

:)

Within reason you're probably right. The camera designers would specify a particular oil to keep the bearings running wear-free for as long as possible, within a certain temperature range. The oil needed to be viscous enough to form a barrier between shaft and bushing and not leak out, but not so thick as to clog the mechanism. Different bearing tolerances and materials would require slightly different oils, but generally they were all variations on clock oil. Some old cameramen I've talked to say they used Singer Sewing Machine oil on their wind-ups for years without a problem.

The article you linked to that mentions sperm whale oil is actually about a different camera, the much less refined Cine Kodak Eight. As previously pointed out, the article only states that the sperm oil was used in the sealed spring housing, not the exposed bearings. Sperm whale oil was a fantastic lubricant used for many years in precision mechanical devices, so I wouldn't rule it out though. It was widely used in car transmissions - apparently when they phased out its use in the 80's the transmission failure rate went through the roof until suitable synthetic replacements were found. The well known Nye oil used sperm whale oil, as did NASA for use in the sub-zero climate of space. There are internet rumours that the Hubble telescope still uses it, but I doubt that. Interestingly, Kodak, Fuji and Konica all hold current patents relating to image recording using whale oil.

For most old wind-ups I'd probably say just use clock oil, or Bolex oil, but the Special was a different class of camera, aimed at professionals like doctors and engineers to use in their practice. It pioneered the interchangeable magazine idea later utilised by Arri with their SR cameras. It was heavy and solid enough to be used extensively during WWII, but much more refined than the Bell and Howells.

The Special II refined the design even further. It's probably the most beautifully engineered wind-up camera ever made. But realistically, if you're going to the trouble of finding the proper oil, it would really need a complete overhaul, with new grease as well as oil.

And finding out the original grease would be a whole new adventure!



Thanks Dom,

I am actually thinking of giving the camera a complete overhaul, as I want to put it to serious use again.
What would make that job easier would be finding a copy of the military repair & overhaul manuals.

There is a mention of the Cine-Kodak Special II Repair & Overhaul Manuals on this website http://www.cameraweb.com/manuals.htm . The Email addresses given are inactive :huh: , so it only serves to show that such manuals were available. Where do I look now? :unsure:
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