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Early Arriflex 35 History.


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#1 Mike Short

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 01:59 PM

To my delight I recently purchased a very early first generation Arri 35 from a person who is also a member of this site. I am researching the history of this motion picture camera and hope over a period of time to build up some sort of data base on early survivors. The camera is serial number 675. Since the very first reflex 35 was No. 500 this makes my camera the 175th reflex Arri 35 ever produced.  

The Imperial War Museum in London owns No. 1362 which according to the museum Arriflex were able to pinpoint a production date of 1943. This camera can be seen at the Imperial War Museum's web site at http://www.iwm.org.u...bject/30004778. Horst Grund used no. 1052 and a document in the Bundesarchiv shows that he received his "new Arriflex technology" on 31st May 1941.

Here is what I know about my camera. From the aforementioned information, I suspect it was made around 1939 or 1940.  It was purchased from Stuttgart Germany about two years ago. Apparently it spent all of it's working life in Germany so there may be some sort of service history with Arri. I did write to them but unfortunately as yet have not heard back. The serial number (photo attached) is stamped to the lower left of the turret as one looks from the front. There is only one lens release for all 3 lenses as was the case with the very early cameras. The door has the number 527 cast into it so it may actually have come from an even earlier camera (the 27th ever built!). Strangely camera no. 527 still exists and was sold at auction a few years back. Numbers between bodies and doors may never have matched in the first place, however I suspect that they originally did. Door numbering disappeared early on but at what point I am not sure. The movement is early (photo included) with a single pull down claw. The camera does not have the phenolic gate (Pertinax?) like other early cameras so I suspect mine was changed at some point - the pressure plate appears to be original. The interior of the camera has A111 lightly scratched into the metal. Many of the internal parts are stamped 67 so I am beginning to think that these cameras may have been built in batches of 10. 67 may have referred to parts for the 67x batch? Just a thought.

The camera is a display piece and it's days of film work have come to an end. Sad in some ways but it begins a life as an object which one can admire from an engineering and historical standpoint. I have attached a few photos of the camera and hope to hear from others with these early cameras. By the way I do not have a lens so at some point I will have to try and find something suitable! Thanks Mike Short, Austin Texas.

 

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#2 Glenn Brady

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 03:16 PM

Even though it's about cameras made after yours, this newly-published book might be a good source of information for you -http://www.amazon.co...2/dp/1617037419.


Edited by Glenn Brady, 03 May 2013 - 03:18 PM.

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#3 Mike Short

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 06:21 PM

Even though it's about cameras made after yours, this newly-published book might be a good source of information for you -http://www.amazon.co...2/dp/1617037419.

Thank You Glenn - looks like I should probably get a copy.

Mike.


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#4 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:55 AM

Hi Mike, the rental house I work for has an early Arri 35 in the foyer museum, serial number 700 (and 570 on the door). I posted some photos of it in this thread:

 

 http://www.cinematog...showtopic=53764

 

That new book looks interesting, thanks for the tip Glenn.

 


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#5 Mike Short

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:12 AM

Hi Mike, the rental house I work for has an early Arri 35 in the foyer museum, serial number 700 (and 570 on the door). I posted some photos of it in this thread:

 

 http://www.cinematog...showtopic=53764

 

That new book looks interesting, thanks for the tip Glenn.

 

Hi Dom,

Thanks for the link - I had looked at it in the past (I have been a lurker for a while). That camera just 25 from mine is pretty amazing. Does anyone at the rental house know anything about the cameras history? I also read that the door had an earlier number, I have a theory about that. When these cameras were being used by the WW2 PK units in Germany one would assume that they (the cameras) faced some rough conditions. One might also assume that they needed regular cleaning and servicing as a result. It could be at this point when doors and bodies got mixed up. Just speculation. Arri must have records as they were able to provide the Imperial War Museum in London details about their camera. I wish I had a way of accessing that data.
Mike.


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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 09:38 AM

Hi Mike, 

 

our camera originally belonged to a Dutch producer who owned a film studio in Holland, his cinematographer son brought it out to Australia in the 50s and eventually gifted it to the rental house owner. It was a working B cam up until the 70s. No-one knows how it first ended up in Holland.

 

The original Arri factory in Turkenstrasse was bombed during the war, so their records may not be complete. Digging up information about 30s or war-era German manufacturing is often difficult, especially if it was tainted with Nazi connections. Unfortunately the best German engineering of the time was usually conscripted to the cause. The first effective lens coating technique invented by Zeiss was for several years deemed a war secret!

 

As well as early Arri history I'm very interested to find out more about the Zeiss Ikon Movikon 16 and Siemens cameras which (being the best) seem to have been the 16mm cameras of choice for the Nazi regime, but once again information is scarce.


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#7 Mike Short

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:41 AM

Hi Dom,

Thanks for the information on No. 700, I will add it to the my files. Yes it is difficult to get any data on German manufacturing, even if Arri have records they maybe reluctant to release the information. The past is the past and maybe it is for the best who knows. I personally have little to no interest in the Nazi regime - just interested in early Arri cameras.


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