PATHE 35mm Antique Professional Type-X Rare French Cinema Film Camera Circa 1908

PATHE 35mm Antique Professional Type-X Rare French Cinema Film Camera Circa 1908


Pathe 35mm Antique Professional Type-X Rare French Cinema Film Camera Circa 1908

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Offered for your consideration is this EXTREMELY RARE and authentic PATHE 35mm Model Professional Type X Motion Picture Camera, built circa 1908.

This is a museum quality rare Pathe cinema camera, serial number: 744. It is extremely rare because it is virtually impossible to find one like it in unmolested original condition and it has all original unrestored leather, paint, wood and patina from circa 1908-1912. It does show its old age with regal splendor. The epitome of circa 110 year old working cinema camera ~patina~. This camera was sold by the USA Pathe Distributor. The official USA distributor added factory approved features such as the: mechanical footage counter, shutter position indicator, more rugged hand crank and French Flag holder, that are all still present.

We have very gently cleaned the camera and conservation treated all leather and lubricated some of the geared internal movement of this camera but retained ALL of the original wear, aged surfaces and patina of this circa over 108 year old artifact. All remaining leather is 1908 original (Moroccan pigskin) as is all the paint and (~bois gaine~) wood. The factory original leather carry strap is broken but still remains attached as the original leather strap, also from 1908.

All parts are original and the hand crank turns the camera movement easily.

This same model and vintage Pathe 35mm camera was used to film ~Birth of a Nation~, released in 1915, as well as thousands more feature films before WW 1.

More 35mm films were shot on this model camera before WW 1, than with any other camera of that era.
When these are found they are usually very worn out or worse: scraps of wood and metal and not working as these were the workhorse cameras of the early century cinema industry.

Typically, heavily used and unpreserved wood, leather and steel turn into rust and dust after 100 years. Nicer examples of this model camera have usually been overly restored with new leather, paint and wood and polished brass and while pretty, do not retain the complete overall originality of an example like the Pathe Professional Type X presented here.

This camera represents a unique opportunity for a collector to own a fully original French made, USA sold and prepared, unmolested example of the Pathe 35mm Professional Type X, from Circa 1908.

Also included with the camera is the circa 1905 wood with geared head early tripod, pictured. The tripod is period accurate and appears to have been made in England. We are still researching the tripod and head maker. A perfect tripod on which to set this Pathe survivor.

This camera is complete with all internal movement parts, 2 original film magazines, one spare original magazine, a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 5cm taking lens, rare French flag holder, hand crank and original steel spring magazine drive belt.

What we know about this camera is that is was originally owned by an American cameraman. We have not been able to find his name in the records of ASC cinematographers or other records that we could review so he must have been an wealthy amateur or very independent professional cameraman. The camera had been in his family all these years and a family member brought the camera to us for consignment sale.

We estimate that the camera was originally purchased from the USA Pathe distributor in NYC circa 1908. We feel this is the case because there are some options on the camera that were typically installed by the USA distributor and we discuss these in the listing here.

We were very excited to see this camera in 100% original state with crumbly leathers and all original finishes. The camera never was restored or even cleaned but sat stored in boxes all these years.

The side viewfinder is not present and the handcrank is not the French original that we are familiar with.

We estimate that the handcrank was either a USA distributor replacement option that is a more rugged and better ergonomically suited to the camera body shape or is a custom built replacement from the original time of the camera.
The existing crank is quite ingenious in design as it has a curved and machined brass shaft between the camera coupling and the wood handle to allow for a mans large hand and sleeve to keep its distance from the controls on the camera body. The original French crank was straight shafted which could allow for the cranking hand or sleeve to brush against the eyepiece flip down cover or other dials on the body. Also the wood hand knob is more petite than the original to allow for a better and more delicate finger grip as opposed to a ‘fist’ grip. In any case, the crank may be what was supplied by the USA sales distributor or it may be a old vintage replacement.

Also ALL of the original leathers are on this camera. They have not ever been restored, aggressively cleaned or replaced. Most Pathe’s have new or recent or restored or non original leathers. There is significant loss to these original leathers and wood but they ARE 100% original and that is very rare. Also ALL the metal components are also original and not restored in any way.

We gently cleaned this camera with an eye for retaining ALL of the original patina.

We use a special and exclusive original late 1800’s formulated colorless leather balm to hand clean and nourish the leathers without changing the originality. This is a preservation technique that we have perfected over the years. We also use other proprietary products to gently clean off dirt but not change the patina of the metal, wood and other interior and exterior surfaces of our cameras.

So we feel the rarity of this camera is in the unmolested condition as we present it. Even the museum collection Pathe Professional Model X cameras that we have seen around the world, show SOME signs of major or minor restorations and / or aggressive cleaning to wood, metal and leathers. Our Pathe does not have that issue.

The camera has matching numbers throughout plus all original maker’s ID numbers that match and is a very rare, completely original, example. With the exception of the handcrank originality, which may actually be original from the USA selling distributor, this is as original as it gets.
There is some gear noise running in the forward mode, but the reverse mode sounds and feels perfect and smooth.
We do not wish to do any mechanical service to this camera for fear of changing the original nature of it.

This is a rare opportunity to own a true cinema relic.

More photos are available at the buyers request. Please note that the original leather door pull for the movement door exists and was left off for some photos during cleaning. But it does show in other photos here.

~Like artifacts of an ancient civilization –
these rare legends
of early Motion Picture and related
production equipment technology –
have a secure and appreciating
place in history.~

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