MUTOSCOPE MODEL "B"
Here it is as received, you'll notice that it has a
Not seen in the photo is damage at the base on one side, damage
to one bottom door, a missing door latch and
finally damage to the clamshell door.
All of these things will be addressed.
Also not shown in the above photo is the cast iron marquee frame. The
marquee will be finished
to match the refinished mutoscope.
It is currently not wired for electric light use, this too will be
A Brief Mutoscope
Mutoscope, came before the motion picture, and uses a reel of cards.
Much like how a flip book works, it creates
a moving image by cranking a handle on the machine front.
original cards were contact printed from 70
mm film. The first
Mutoscope was produced in 1895 and soon replaced earlier machine types.
cards were larger and they did not
deteriorate with use.
the Mutoscope was very popular in arcades. These early machines and
sought after as antiques of the early days of Cinema. The original
Mutoscope patent was issued in I895 to Herman Casler of Oneonta, New
the prototype was built in a machine shop in Syracuse, where he worked.
Sometime later,W.K.L.Dickson,an associate of Edison,stated that the
idea was his. The two men and two other partners formed a syndicate
became the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Although the
principle was not new. The circular card reel was an innovation. The
time of one rotation (8OO to 85O cards) was about one minute, the same
of the average thirty-foot film produced by then existing cameras.
Biograph Company developed its own camera, the "Mutograph' and later a
projector, the "Biograph." With this projector, the commercial
motion-picture theater was born, and the Mutoscope lost popularity,
it continued its life in the arcades. Between 1897 and I907, which
is considered the
age of the Mutoscope, over l,000 titles and 100,000 reels were printed
distributed. How many are still out there is unknown. The early actors
actresses appeared generally without credit. Some reels were made in
such as "Happy Hooligan,"
"Rip Van Winkle" and "Foxy Grandpa," others were short
plays and comedies, and still others were scenic views like
Falls” and "Atlantic City Boardwalk".
projected films began to be produced, newsreels, sporting events and
films were cut to fit the Mutoscope's one minute viewing time. Chaplin,
Normand, Tom Mix and other name actors appeared, including animated
However the Mutoscope is above all famous for the "Girlies" dance and
strip-tease subjects (peep shows).
Note: The above information was
multiple sources, please let me know if any errors are discovered
A friend of mine who helped in obtaining this mutoscope, had a
trip scheduled to come down to Florida and was kind enough to bring it
along and drop it off.
It was partially
disassembled for it's journey.
These are small enough to fit into most cars, if disassembled would fit
into pretty much any car, maybe not a "smart car"
The transformation begins
The head unit was disassembled.
The mechanism removed.
The viewer was disassembled and top
light window along with the ID plate were removed.
The handle on the mechanism shaft was
cut off to remove it
no roll pin etc could be located
Here the mechanism after removal
and partial disassembly.
Evaluation , cleaning and whatever needed repairs are needed will be
The gear that the "J" hook rides on has been cleaned, along with the
worm gear that drives it.
New grease will be applied later.
The gear seen at the top couples to a bevel gear and is driven by the
cranking of the handle when a coin has started the process.
Each tooth of that gear will be individually cleaned removing 100 years
of dried out impacted grease in those teeth.
Closer examination later of this gear and it's worm gear revealed wear.
There is considerable play of the worm gear on it's shaft as well as
some teeth on the large gear it drives. During operation when the reel
is turning it can reach a point where it will jump because of this wear
These gears will have to be replaced for perfect operation.
That large reel driving gear is very interesting as it has 2 tracks
that the "J" arm follows , first a higher track then it drops to a
lower track that allows the rotation of the reel to be stopped when it
reaches the reel end and resets mechanism for the next coin.
At the top middle of the photo is a bracket that will hold the
lamp socket and light bulb. once it's electrified.
This "B" model could operate without it with bright room light or
marquee frame light on, because it has a window at the top of the case.
This was a really interesting find.
This was used as a washer
Thats an Indian Head Penny 1897
All the hardware was cleaned, all paint and rust removed. Below is an
example showing two of the long case bolts rust removed along with 2 in
Here is a transition photo
Here after the paint was removed, and the parts primed, along with
serious issues addressed they were painted this dark green satin color.
Here some other parts after painting
The gold looks great
Here reassemble of the cabinet base has begun
One bottom door was test fit (though not finished yet) Detailing has
begun here, The first coat of gold applied to the test panel and
There is dust on the green base panels that will clean off.
Here most of the cabinet has been detailed. All the gold on the
cabinet, with exception of the legs,viewfinder, coin casting and leaves
was hand painted.
A number of coats of gold paint was applied to the detail areas to get
result seen here.
Shown in the photo of the mechanism above is the lamp socket bracket
minus the lamp socket.
The mutoscope uses an early porcelain socket made by Bryant. It is
wider than other similar sockets and is needed to span the mounting
Here installed and tested. It will turn on when the movie starts and
goes off when it ends.
Here below a marquee light was added, along with a new sign which
was created to show the correct title of the reel received with
Now waiting for parts to finalize the mechanism restoration and install
it along with the viewfinder assembly
Ok, it turns out, I had to pause before re-assembling the mutoscope.
I was not happy with the way the mechanism worked. It would
sometimes slip attempting to play a movie completely through.
I found the clutch slipped more than it should (not the cause)
It turned out that the biggest problem and wear was on that brass worm
That gear effectively transfers all the cranking energy to rotate the
This is what caused the movie to "Slip" or jump.
So, in the end 3 of the 4 gears were replaced.
And it's DONE
Thanks Joe K. ! for your help
is a photo showing both the original very worn worm gear and the new
It's obvious why it slipped.
Below: Some notes on getting the mechanism to operate correctly