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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Brenkert History (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 6 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6 
 
Author Topic: Brenkert History
Josh Jones
Redhat

Posts: 1207
From: Plano, TX
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 09-03-2001 10:51 PM      Profile for Josh Jones   Author's Homepage   Email Josh Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Does anyone know much about this company before RCA bought them out? The manual section doesnt have a history page for brenkert. I am starting to like these machines, and would like to learn more about them. Thanks,

Josh

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Aaron Sisemore
Flaming Ribs beat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups any day!

Posts: 3061
From: Rockwall TX USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 09-03-2001 11:23 PM      Profile for Aaron Sisemore   Email Aaron Sisemore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Josh-

I have a contact with a guy that used to work in the Brenkert plant in Detroit back in the 40s and 50s. He should be able to tell you a LOT about your favorite machines Only catch is that he DOES NOT have email (or a computer for that matter), and is only reachable via snail mail. I have the address at the office and can post it here for you and any other Brenkert enthusiasts.

Aaron

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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 09-03-2001 11:39 PM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Aaron:

Try to get your friend to write a short pamphlet style history of Brenkert similar to the Simplex, Century, and Balco histories on the manuals page.

I would like to read a Brenkert history myself. I think it would be very fascinating to read. Does he have any pictures????

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Jeff Stricker
Master Film Handler

Posts: 480
From: Kokomo, In USA
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 09-04-2001 08:33 AM      Profile for Jeff Stricker   Email Jeff Stricker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, Yes...I'm interested, too. I tried to do some research through a Detroit historical association, but came up empty handed. No one can even tell me the street address of the old plant.

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Aaron Sisemore
Flaming Ribs beat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups any day!

Posts: 3061
From: Rockwall TX USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 09-04-2001 06:12 PM      Profile for Aaron Sisemore   Email Aaron Sisemore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
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]

7-17-2001

Dear Aaron,

(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!

In Brief:

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")

Regards,
Robert Sprague


[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)



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Josh Jones
Redhat

Posts: 1207
From: Plano, TX
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 09-04-2001 07:59 PM      Profile for Josh Jones   Author's Homepage   Email Josh Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
WOW!!

"never before have words poured from my penny pencil with such feverish fluidity"
- A Christmas Story

Josh

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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 09-04-2001 09:21 PM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have to echo those words also, WOW!

Brenkerts are still the best to me, too.

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Bob Maar
(Maar stands for Maartini)


Posts: 28608
From: New York City & Newport, RI
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 09-05-2001 07:38 AM      Profile for Bob Maar   Author's Homepage   Email Bob Maar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What a warm, caring insightful letter. His personality jumps off the page. He is a real treasure. Thank you Aaron for sharing. Thank you Josh for asking.


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Mark Gulbrandsen
Film God

Posts: 14589
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-05-2001 09:52 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Somneone should go and interview this guy with a camcorder running. It would be a great piece of film history brought forth that no one seems to know much about. I was somewhat familiar with the dates that the machines appeared cause I ahve a mountain of old International Projectionist Magazines that go back to 1937. I was also aware of the VV conversions as I have seen several of them. You wouldn't recognize it as a Brenkert movement though, If anyone does write to him please post your replys here for all of us to absorb.......
Mark @ GTS

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Joe Ritter
Film Handler

Posts: 27
From: Cape May Court House, NJ, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 09-05-2001 09:57 AM      Profile for Joe Ritter   Email Joe Ritter   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks to Josh and Aron-------I have been interested in the Brenkert stuff for some time now but have found no one that realy had the facts. I run Brenkert Enarc lamps but have Simplex projectors. I would like to know the difference in models (BX-60, 80, 90 etc.) and their advantages, disadvantages and the dates of manufacture. I have heard thet the Brenkert projector consumes more power than some of the other brands?????

It may be best for you who has writen the gentleman from Brenkert to post your answers. I don`t think that the "gentleman from Brenkert" would like writing everyone individually when the pertinent information could be posted here for all to read.-------Thanks---------Joe Ritter--------

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 09-05-2001 12:58 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Was there two production runs of the BX-80?

Josh and I were changing the shutter compensator in his BX-80 Monday, and there was a slight difference between his and what I have seen in other BX-80's of the past. The compensators interchanged, but there are a few other parts (casting parts, primarly) that won't even come close to bolting up to the machine.

Josh easily saw the difference and called my attention to them.

Even the shutter shaft pinion gears were of a slightly different design. They looked more rugged than what I have seen in the BX-80's and BX-100's.

At first, I thought Josh had a BX-80 loaded to the gills with BX-40 parts. Another thought was a BX-40 with a factory BX-80 tag. The Brenkert Emblem on the door had a darker color, too. It looked like a BX-40 emblem.

Aaron, that letter you posted - WOW! Josh made me aware of it over the phone while I did not have access to a computer. I was surprised by the history cited in that letter.

I did not have the slightest idea how far the BX-80 went back in time. And, I thought the BX-40 was the first.

Josh, I did see one RCA-200 somewhere in Wisconsin - but I cannot recall where it was.

I wonder where we could dig up a BX-90? Hmmmm.

Paul


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Will Kutler
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1454
From: Tucson, AZ, USA
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 09-05-2001 03:31 PM      Profile for Will Kutler   Email Will Kutler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey Mark!

you spoke about someone interviewing this gentleman. What about that chap who has been posting lately who is making a documentary about projectionists? Need to find his posts and contact him!

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Film God

Posts: 14589
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-05-2001 06:07 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yea Will, you're right! I forgot about this guy. The Brenkert guy should be the first on his list to interview. I'll go back and see if I can find those posts. He better hurry as there are not many projectionists left.
Mark @ GTS

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Bob Maar
(Maar stands for Maartini)


Posts: 28608
From: New York City & Newport, RI
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 09-05-2001 08:53 PM      Profile for Bob Maar   Author's Homepage   Email Bob Maar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have sent a note to Gabriel Rhodes who is writing the history. He will be checking in here.


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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 09-06-2001 12:03 AM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Joe, the Brenkert requires a little more OOMPH from the motor to get it rolling because of its massively over-designed gear train. Other than that, the more power it consumes is not that big of a deal.

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