Le Prince Single Lens Camera

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The 1895-96 Chronophotographe camera designed by Georges Demenÿ and based on his 1893-94 patents, was intended as an amateur device. Its technical versatility presented some conundrums for the team to solve. Demenÿ’s important beater-movement mechanism was used in cameras and projectors by many other inventors, and was formally adopted by Gaumont for some of their early machines.The replica is based on a surviving example in the collection of the Cinématheque Française.Demenÿ dreamed of commercialising chronophotography, and pushed Marey to order the manufacture of six cameras intended for sale. Relations between them soured when Demenÿ formed, in December 1892, the Société de Phonoscope. Marey refused to co-operate in this enterprise, so Demenÿ devised his own camera, inventing the ‘beater’ mechanism, used in many later projectors, to move the film.Photographs of the visible portions, and copies of original drawings of the hidden interior mechanism, were kindly provided by the Cinématheque. There were some difficulties to overcome in establishing the exact nature of all of the controls and their operation, but eventually these were resolved and the camera has now been completed and successfully tested.


Replica Camera Mechanism