Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

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Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by lilybettina 1 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:37 am

Thanks Mark, The rackover did move at one point away from the side finder but locked about midway across the L plate. I would need an expert Mitchell man to look into this, as I am certainly no expert.

Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by marop » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:46 am

Nice! I must apologize but it looks like I never provided info on your camera. What I know is that it was first sold from Mitchell November 10, 1928. The records I have indicate that it was a High Speed version, which would have meant it had ball bearings. It was sold to....; R.C.A. Photophone.

Your L base was sold on June 5th, 1929 to RCA Westinghouse. So at least you have the parts coming from the same place.

Did you ever free up the movement? That old grease dries hard.


Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by lilybettina 1 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:11 am

Here is a picture of my 'completed' Standard Mitchell #146 with a turret full of Bausch & Lomb lenses. 25 35 40 and 75mm. Very many thanks for all the advice (especially from Mediaed) and those who helped me assemble this beautiful object (first seeing the light of day in 1928 at RKO studios). One day I might get the rackover to unjam, but that can wait until I find in the UK a Mitchell ex-camera engineer! One day I hope my camera will be used in a movie or tv drama ( as a prop) so that the whole world can enjoy.
Dicky (Lilybettina)
DSC_0005 - Copy.JPG

Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by mediaed » Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:50 am


Thanks for the info on Standards having sleeves instead of bearings. Stand corrected on earlier statement as have heard it both ways in the past. Earlier, I estimated this camera #146 be from 1926 based on info I had available and presented in the post. Would be interested in an actual dating for the cameras mentioned.

I am also wondering that the flywheel is a feature of cameras specifically designed for hand cranking? Must be a mechanical advantage. ED.

Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by lilybettina » Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:32 am

Thanks Mark. My Standard Mitchell is no. 146. This is marked on several internal units apart from the base plate which is marked 190. I bought the (adapted) camera from a UK producer of animated commercials who in turn acquired the camera from Aardman Animations in the 1990s. We are all UK based. My info suggests that the camera came over with a batch Aardman bought from 'RKO' or who ever stored these Mitchells at the time. My Standard is now almost complete, apart from the flywheel. The rackover is still firmly jammed, it feels as if there is a pin in place that won't release. However, any info about the working history of my 146 will be gratefully received.

Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by marop » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:13 pm

Nice camera. Too bad the front was altered but common for cameras that were used in animation. If it is a standard, it likely has bronze sleeves, not bearings. The grease gets old and dry. You would want to make sure that you oil all the correct spots to oil theses cameras. I have a diagram somwhere that shows where to oil a GC (high speed, which has bearings). When I bought my Standard, I knew it was frozen but sent it straight off to Ken Stone. Fortunately it was not damage but Ken had a heck of a time freeing up the movement. He also had to replace some screws and I think a register pin, special to Paramount cameras. I would also recommend Richard Bennett of Cinemagear, who was already mentioned, if he has time.

I think I have looked up serial number 167 before, are you a new owner, or the person I gave the info to of the first buyer? I have copies of the Mitchell sales records and look up info for collectors. I also enjoy researching history of these cameras, which is not common and is quite challenging. I have so many numbers in mind head I just can't keep track. I own one camera, not a Mitchell, that has two different numbers and I kno a few people that own cameras with 2 different numbers.


Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by lilybettina » Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:03 am

Thanks everybody for the continuing advice. Another request, how to I remove the body of my Standard from the L plate? Or failing that how do I unjam the rackover? I've removed the (quite thin) base plate but can't see any release screws. I'm no expert. Perhaps I should leave it alone? Also thanks to a generous offer I'm now well on the way to getting a complete Standard. Just the fly wheel really, oh, and those VERY expensive lenses!!

Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by mediaed » Thu Jun 02, 2016 7:26 pm

On the missing flywheel.

Standard practice in converting for animation was to remove the flywheel because in single frame it might continue rotating and cause an extra frame or stutter. Elsewhere on the site an earlier post about Standards confirms this.


Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by lilybettina1 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:28 am

Thanks again Ed. All very useful information. The Patent plate on my Mitchell no 146 has a last entry as May 11th 1926. Patent Nos. 1,637529 (focussing viewfinder) and another 1,648559. The ENTIRE front of my Mitchell is fake. Turret, lenses, matte box and rods, all constructed, not by myself but an expert model maker. Close up it wouldn't fool an expert, but I hope it all looks plausible.

Re: Stiff Movement on Mitchell Standard (advice)

by mediaed » Sun May 29, 2016 8:36 am

There would have been a reasonable number of Mitchells in GB thru the years at the lots that represented the majors like the MGM lot. I recall an article from a few years ago that said Aardman had 8 or 10 Mitchells at one time. Certainly Rank would have had a brace of them.

The FBO company I mentioned earlier was actually a British import/export outfit that got into the movie business to supplement their British and French imports. At one time a Major H. C. S. Thompson from India was head of the studios I guess in the belief that running a regiment was about the like type of job. I hesitate to ask. The Turret in your first picture? Lumber? I take it the lenses are the real deal.