Vintage Bell & Howell Movie Cameras



2015-06-26 10:31:10

Vintage Bell and Howell movie cameras are Vintage and Bell "video" cameras that use film.


Vintage movie cameras, projectors and accessories can still be used today to make home movies - or in some cases, professional productions. The first 16mm home movie cameras were produced in the 1920s, with colour film introduced in the1930s. Some of the best known names in vintage movie cameras and equipment include Bolex, Kodak, and Bell and Howell.

As home movie camera technology improved, smaller formats like 8mm and Super 8 cameras were introduced, leading to even wider adoption of home cinematography, which peaked in the 1950s and 1960s. After that, tape and video-based cameras and camcorders began to take over.

Collecting information

Company information

According to its charter, Bell & Howell Company was incorporated on February 17, 1907. It was duly recorded in the Cook County Record Book eight days later. The first meeting of stockholders took place in the office of Attorney W. G. Strong on February 19 at 10 a. m. The first board of directors was chosen for a term of one year: Donald Joseph Bell, chairman; Albert Summers Howell, secretary; and Marguerite V. Bell (wife of Donald Bell), vice chairman. Austin Delaney was the President of Bell and Howell in Canada in the 1960s and 70's. He moved with his family from England.

Historically, Bell & Howell Co. was an important supplier of many different media technologies, including:

  • a rotary framer on 35mm film projectors in 1907
  • a 35mm film perforator in 1908
  • Professional 35mm motion-picture film cameras from 1909 on
  • Printing equipment used by motion-picture film laboratories since 1911
  • The Standard Cinematograph Type 2709 hand-cranked camera (used in early silent films, it was so expensive that only Charlie Chaplin and three other people owned one [1]. The rest were owned by studios)
  • Newsreel and amateur film cameras such as the Filmo (end of 1923) and Eyemo (1925), and Autoload EE (1956)
  • Military 16mm film gun camera TYPE N-6A
  • Regular-8 and Super-8 film cameras and projectors (all models)
  • 16mm silent and sound projectors (all models)
  • Slide projectors (2" X 2")
  • Overhead presentation projectors (all models)

In 1934 Bell & Howell introduced the first light weight amateur 8-mm movie camera, in which the film was loaded in a cassette that allowed daylight loading and unloading.

Although known for manufacturing their film projectors, a partnership with Canon between 1961-1976 added still photography to their product lineup - their 35mm SLR cameras were manufactured by Canon with the Bell & Howell logo in its place. The firm dropped the production of movie cameras in the early 1970s.

Bell & Howell has been the leading supplier of media equipment for schools and offices. The film laboratory line is now a separate company, BHP Inc, which is a division of Research Technology International.

The firm added microfilm products in 1946. It purchased University Microfilms International in the 1980s. UMI produced a product called ProQuest. On June 6, 2001 Bell & Howell became ProQuest Company (NYSE "PQE").

They also had an Electronics and Instrumentation Division on Lennox Road, Basingstoke, UK. This facility produced several different types of transducers for applications such as North Sea oil platforms and the Ariane Space vehicles.

Currently, third-party companies offer a number of consumer products licensed under the Bell & Howell name, including:

  • 35mm cameras
  • Alarm systems
  • Air purifiers
  • Digital cameras
  • Electric shavers
  • Handheld LCD televisions
  • Heat therapy devices
  • Noise reduction headphones
  • Personal sound amplifiers
  • Portable radios
  • Sunlight desk lamps
  • Sunlight floor lamps
  • Solar powered floodlights


Establish the camera make and model. This can be a little tricky. Some manufacturers changed features in particular model lines over time. The best way to establish the exact make and model is to find a website that lists serial numbers, and their corresponding manufacturing dates and feature sets.

Do an eBay search for your make and model of camera. Price depends heavily on the condition of the camera, so keep this in mind when reviewing sale prices on eBay. EBay prices also tend to be lower than retail prices on commercial websites or at retail stores that carry used cameras.

Search the Used Store at B & H Photo Video. Consider this price to be the highest possible price that you can get for a camera on the open market.

Search the Adorama used-equipment section. In general, Adorama is a good comparison for a mid to high price for a private sale.

Look up the camera make and model at KEH. KEH will give you a low to mid-priced estimate of how much your camera could sell for in a private sale. Remember, condition of the equipment is very important.

Price guide

A Bell and Howell Eyemo camera brought €1,600 to WestLicht Photographica Auction in November 2012.

Three movie camera (one Bell and Howell 1928 model) sold for €800 at Auction Team Breker in September 2012.

A 1960s Apollo Program Bell and Howell movie camera sold for $350 in December 2011.


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