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Carbon Arc Relics

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  Carbon Arc Relics
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GratiotDriveInFan
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Carbon Arc Relics
« Thread started on: Feb 6th, 2006, 12:32am »

Just wondering if anyone knows anything about carbon arc projectors. Some look like ray guns that could knock a flying saucer out of the sky!

They probably make good museum pieces.

What's the availability of parts? Can they be retrofitted with bulbs? Are they safe to use since most are probably 50 years old or more? Where can you get the electrodes? Are they reliable?

The Gratiot Drive-In originally had Simplex projectors but had RCA speakers and junction boxes. The ad in the Gratiot Drive-In section seems to imply that the Gratiot Drive-In had Simplex speakers and projection, but the information side bar in another photo states sound by RCA. There is an RCA speaker from the Gratiot Drive-In in a glass display case in the Roseville Library. No doubt the Simplex projectors were carbon arc dating back to 1947/48.

They must have installed them after the Army was done with them after blasting the UFO in Roswell, NM in 1947......
Joe
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steelbeard1
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #1 on: Feb 6th, 2006, 10:42am »

Carbon arc lamphouses cannot be retrofitted. Of course, modern xenon lamphouses can be mounted on the old bases and use the old projectors.
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dwcart
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #2 on: Feb 7th, 2006, 5:25pm »

I grew up trimming carbons.Parts for carbon arc lamphouses are impossible to find,everybody tossed them.They could last forever,but carbons got too expensive and could only run a 20 min reel.I would love to see a pair running again and strike an arc.Also in the 1970s and 80s Kneisley Electric Co. of Toledo Ohio offered a retrofit kit to turn carbon arc into xenon and I think the Hi-Way Drive-in in Sandusky,Michigan have them.
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GratiotDriveInFan
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #3 on: Apr 2nd, 2006, 10:51am »

One Ballantyne Pro 35 theatre projector just sold on eBay for $250.00. (Best Offer) This was previously offered for about $499.00 and came with a platter. It was down in Daytona Beach, Florida. The listing said that it had a Peerless Magnarc 1Kw-70 amp light source. Not sure if this was a carbon arc unit or if it had been converted to bulb.

Anybody have any input on how to purchase projectors suitable for drive-in use? Can indoor theatre projectors be fitted with FM transmitter capability? How much work and expense is required to alter the lens system?

Joe
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elsrbagokrapp
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #4 on: Apr 11th, 2006, 10:00pm »

When I was at the Auburn-Garrett drive-in a few years ago, they were still using what looked like their original equipment, and it was carbon arc. They were very strange looking machines with small reels, and had a medieval look to them. They were somewhat in the open for viewing while standing in the popcorn line.

Something I noticed last week at the Sundance; there are no longer any marks on the upper right corner of the screen every 20 minutes. These marks must not be in the film anymore, so the Auburn-Garrett must have had to apply them when using 20 minute reels.

Say, the clock on this board is still on standard time. Who's supposed to climb the stairs and move the hands ahead an hour
« Last Edit: Apr 11th, 2006, 10:09pm by elsrbagokrapp » Logged

michigandriveins
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #5 on: Apr 12th, 2006, 8:42pm »

on Apr 11th, 2006, 10:00pm, elsrbagokrapp wrote:
Something I noticed last week at the Sundance; there are no longer any marks on the upper right corner of the screen every 20 minutes. These marks must not be in the film anymore, so the Auburn-Garrett must have had to apply them when using 20 minute reels.


I still occasionally notice cue marks in movies, maybe some do and some don't?

on Apr 11th, 2006, 10:00pm, elsrbagokrapp wrote:
Say, the clock on this board is still on standard time. Who's supposed to climb the stairs and move the hands ahead an hour


I haven't a clue how to change it?!
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michigandriveins
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #6 on: Apr 21st, 2006, 12:42pm »

Here's a shot Joe wanted me to post. I'll let him elaborate on whats going on here........

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GratiotDriveInFan
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #7 on: Apr 23rd, 2006, 6:32pm »

I found the above photo of a carbon arc/projection bulb conversion on the website of a drive-in in another state. Conversion looks very simple! It's just a matter of substituting one light source for another.

Thanks for the assist, Ron.

Joe
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GratiotDriveInFan
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #8 on: Jul 9th, 2007, 9:00pm »

Hey gang,
I found this website while plunkin' around on the web. There's some ancient stuff here. The Egyptians probably entertained the pyramid slaves at night by showing movies on the side of the Sphinx with stuff like this!

http://www.cinephoto.co.uk/misc_projectors.htm

Lou Warrington, at the US-23, told me that his carbon arc projectors went to the junkyard years ago. With digital projection on the march, looks like Lou's present projectors will sooner or later be joining the old ones......
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Projectionist
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #9 on: Jul 27th, 2007, 10:53am »

I ran water-cooled carbon-arc Strong Excelites for 25 years.
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Sandusky Drive-In 1976-2002
Strong arc, Simplex 35mm, RCA optical sound
elsrbagokrapp
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Re: Carbon Arc Relics
« Reply #10 on: Jul 13th, 2008, 10:17pm »

I'm not shure how they filmed this without ruining their camera, but here's a 20 second clip of a carbon arc projector being struck and set -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqACg1U3JjQ
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