OK: Here is the ENTIRE letter that he sent me. It was typed by me virtually verbatim, and any notes I added will be in brackets [like this].
ROBERT SPRAGUE, A.S.M.P.
MOTION PICTURE HISTORIAN
P.O. Box 948
Petoskey, MI 49770-6948
[letterhead also contains pictures of a BX80 and the Brenkert Shield logo]
(A friend sent me your address and a Xerox copy of one of your e-mails or internet or "whatever" messages [most likely a post from Film-Tech or 35mmforum -AS] in which you "praised" the Brenkert projectors (for which I Thank You!)) (I'm not electronically connected, as mentally I'm "still in the 1950's")
First a brief introduction:
I am a retired projectionist (39 years experience) and prior to that, in the late 1940's I was briefly employed at the Brenkert Light Projection Company (Or "Brenkert Light" or "BLPC" as we called it) in my hometown of Detroit (275 miles southeast of Petoskey!).
Yes (in my prejudiced opinion) the Brenkerts were possibly the BEST 35mm projector heads ever made in the U.S.A.
I would be happy to hear from you [I would assume any other Brenkert fans as well... -AS] or answer any questions or "curiosities" you might have!
BLPC organized in 1907.
BLPC incorporated in 1941.
BLPC made spot lamps, lantern slide projectors, stereopticons, effects projectors, etc. for live opera, vaudeville, and movie theatres from 1907 to 1939.
First BLPC projector arc lamp for movie use introduced in 1929.
First famous arc lamp (the Enarc) introduced in 1935.
First projector mechanism (the BX-80) introduced in 1939.
Second projector mechanism (the BX-40) introduced in 1940.
Third and Fourth projector mechanisms (the BX-60 and BX-62) introduced in 1948.
Telecine (film chain) mechanism (the BX-90) introduced around 1947.
Last projector mechanism (the BX-100/RCA-100) introduced in 1950.
Largest BLPC arc lamp (Model A-4 Super Intensity: 13.6mm trim, 180 amps) introduced in 1949.
BLPC was purchased by RCA on July 1, 1945, and RCA dissolved the BLPC division around 1954.
After BLPC was out of business, RCA had the following companies "make" "RCA-badged" products as follows:
RCA-200 projector mechanism (c. 1953) made by Century.
RCA projection arc lamps (Brite-Arc, Line-Arc, Hy-Arc, and Dyn-Arc, c.1953-54) made by Ashcraft.
for "Export" sales:
RCA "Standard Line" projector head and sound head (c.1954-55) made by Wenzel.
RCA "ALL-American" combo picture and soundhead (c. 1955-56) made by Settles.
RCA continued making theatre sound heads & sound systems in their Indianapolis plant for several years after Brenkert closed. For example, a typical circa 1953-54 "RCA" installation would include an RCA-200 projector head (made by Century), an RCA arc lamp (made by Ashcraft), and an RCA soundhead (This was still made by RCA!).
Brenkert "thought about" but never made their own soundheads, and after 1938, Brenkert equipment was sold ONLY thru RCA Theatre Supply dealers.
Brenkert heads cost more than others, but many leading theatres, (ESPECIALLY in Detroit and Chicago) had them: The two largest theatres in Chicago had Brenkerts: the Chicago (4100 seats), and the Uptown (4500 seats). The big Detroit theatres that had Brenkert equipment included the Michigan (4200 seats), the Broadway-Capitol (3000+ seats), The Fisher (2800 seats) the Madison, etc.
Odd Brenkert related information:
Some Century-built model VV horizontal VistaVision projectors (8-perf frame pull-across) were retrofitted to use Brenkert intermittents in place of the official Century intermittents.
In the mid-1930's, Motiograph of Chicago was in a "deal" to manufacture projector mechanisms for distribution or sale by Brenkert & RCA dealers, but the deal "fell apart" around 1936/37, so Brenkert "rush-designed" their own design, and thus was born the BX-80, introduced in May of 1939.
The very successful "oil-spray" lubrication system of the Simplex XL was basically a copy of the Brenkert system of 1939 (The XL was introduced in 1949/50).
The very successful "double rear counter-rotating" shutters of many Century models (CC, HH, DA, etc.) was basically an idea "borrowed" from Brenkert.
I have been very "lucky" to have been involved with Brenkert, and I am still in contact regularly with several Brenkert family members.
Just in case you're "curious", most of my booth experience has been with Simplex and Century projectors, and Strong, Ashcraft, and Peerless arc lamps. My last full-time booth job was in 1989 at an AMC 14-screen multiplex with "God-awful" JUNK "Christie" projectors- What JUNK!!! I said "to hell with it" and got out! My last booth job with manual operation, arc lamps, and 20-minute reels was in 1981-82.
I would enjoy hearing from ANYONE who likes Brenkerts! (but you will have to use "snail mail")
[at the bottom of the letterhead was the following:]
Lifetime Charter Member #199
American Society of Master Projectionists
(founded by Karl Brenkert and Ernie Forbes in Detroit 1949)