Grahame N's Web Pages

(& MARK V111, 1X, XV1)

from Grahame Newnham

The smart modernish style Pathéscope "Gem" projector - made in 8mm / 9.5mm / 16mm models - designed & manufactured in the UK!

A British designed & manufactured machine not sold in France. Design had begun in 1939, by Pathéscope chief engineer Leslie Snoad, but the war intervened. A clever design of die-castings, using a newly designed high efficiency 12 volt 100 watt lamp (A1/156 - with Pathescope "T" piece base) giving high intensity lighting, with a series wound, mains voltage motor enabled variable speeds with power rewind. The power rewind is engaged by flicking down the tiny lever directly behind the lamphouse. An ingenious, eccentric pin drive to the cam assembly gave 63% light transmission because of the accelerated film pull down. Sprung twin claws avoided major film damage although film did tend to wind back round the single sprocket at the end of a reel. The lens (normally 32mm focal length for 9.5mm) could have been better; 900ft spool capacity. By the 1950s a range of bloomed (coated), projection lenses included 26mm; 38mm, 45mm and 60mm. Soon after, the talkie version of the Gem, the Son arrived, so did an improved standard 32mm projection lens with a claimed aperture of f1.6. (Whilst these were fitted to the Son, I think one had to pay extra for this lens with the Gem. A very strong and durable black leatherette covered carrying case to hold the Gem projector plus take-up spool and accessories also became available from Pathéscope.

The Gem was manufactured in 8mm, 9.5mm and 16mm versions but UK Board of Trade restrictions meant most original production (especially 8mm) had initially to be exported. (Launched at the British Industries Fair and described in Feb 1948 ACW and 'second look' June 1949 ACW - see these reviews below). Typical serial numbers: 8128, 9053, 11646, 12831.

The 'New Look' of the Gem meant it was included for display amongst the consumer goods at the 1951 Festival of Britain.

some later models were finished in grey

A useful machine for showing 9.5mm silent films - an improved lens can be sourced for the 22mm mount (a Bell & Howell 1 inch f1.6 Increlite from an 8mm machine is recommended - 'bigger, brighter, sharper picture'). Early models with two core mains cable should be rewired with earthed three core cable, and check the speed resistance on early models - the fibre arm bows and the unrecessed back of the electrical wiper contact may then touch the projector casing, making it live! Lamps may be upgraded (as per the later Son talkie) to A1/186, A1/215 or even A1/231. As per the Son, always use the correct motor belt - an overtight Hoover belt will wreck the motor bearings and pull it off the rubber mounts! By the way, motor brushes are 4mm square type. Take care with the three lamphouse screws - the threads soon strip!

Typical 9.5mm serial numbers: 8128, 9053, 11646, 12831

And here is a 16mm Pathescope "Gem" cine projector - although a review says the 16mm model was finished in bronze, this one appears to have been finished in black - like the "Son". This is probably the first one I have seen - on ebay in July 2016 - went for £62 and it was for spares!! Not sure what focal length lens was fitted to the 16mm model - possibly 50mm?

16mm Pathéscope "Gem" cine projector

Amateur Cine World magazine - first "Gem" review February 1948

Pathéscope 1949 adverts for the "Gem" - probably ACW

Pathéscope double-sided advert sheet for the "Gem" cine projector - 1950s

Amateur Cine World magazine June 1949

Pathéscope "Gem" with the front plate removed - screws are 6BA; take care with the threads!
this allows for motor belt replacement - don't use overtight Hoover belts!
The offset drive pin on the main shaft drive pulley has to locate
in the groove on the cam/claw drive when replacing the front.
A little grease in this drive groove and claw cam does help.

The "Gem" with side cover off - 6BA screws - again take care with the threads
(sometimes someone at Pathéscope used a nut on the front bottom screw)
- cable & socket are for the 12 volt 100 watt A1/156 projection lamp assembly connection.

Pathéscope "Gem" with the top off - lamp transformer on left - motor on right - new 3-core (earthed!) cable about to be fitted!

Pathéscope "Gem" - bottom front cover removed to reveal motor speed control
- check wiper arm is not bent with rivet touching the projector body!
standard toggle switches just visible on rhs for switching motor and lamp


The Pathéscope Mk 1X (restyled Gem), cine projector

By the late 1950s, no doubt the original Gem castings had run out; there was a name change at Pathéscope Ltd to Pathéscope (Great Britain) Ltd as a British businessman bought out the French shares; and a new look for the Gem became the Mark 1X projector.

This new series used the same design but a simple pressed steel base (this new businessman owned a metal pressing company!). Models were introduced for 8mm (Mark V111) ; 9.5mm (Mark 1X) and 16mm (Mark XV1). These were fitted with Dallmeyer lenses and the price eventually reduced to £27-10sh. I think 8mm sales began quite well - the price was competative with other 8mm machines (this model could take up to 800 foot / 250 metre spools).

Whilst the 9.5mm and 16mm versions employed the same "Gem" 12 volt 100 watt Pathé 'T' piece base lamp - the A1/156; the 8mm version was fitted with the latest 8volt 50 watt integral reflector lamp (like the A1/17 just being introduced), but with the same Pathé 'T' piece base (presumably to avoid any redesign of the lamp assembly). This saved on the need for reflector or condenser lens on the 8mm model.

The lamp Pathéscope used for the Mk V111 cine projector
(like the later A1/17 but with the special Pathé 'T' piece base)

The 8 volt 50 watt lamp used in the Mk V111 8mm version was really good (no need for reflector or condenser) - I actually converted my 9.5mm Mk 2 Pathéscope "Son" talkie projector to this latest design 'cold-light' lamp (fitted a new lamp transformer) - it gave a brighter picture and less heat - I just had to adjust the lamp base position with a couple of washers. That was in my teens - some 50 or so years ago ...... Wondered why I still had these spare lamps ... the "Son " is still in the loft - must get it down and do an article (if it is still intact!!).

These machines formed part of a new range of Pathéscope products in 8mm and 16mm as well as the 9.5mm film gauge; all being exhibited at the UK Photo Fair on Pathéscope's stand number 64.

The examples I have seen have the pressed steel base finished in a light blue, but the main castings are all, sadly, finished in black.

This new design included tiny changes from the "Gem" - the curved style projection lens was replaced by a standard looking one, (still 22mm diameter mount), the top nut for the spool arms was not domed chrome, switches were set at the side, mains selection panel was at the rear, a large screw at the top front gave access for lubricating the cam, height adjustment was by screwed front feet, a different motor was fitted - but to be fair - performance was still excellent with a much improved picture with the new Dallmeyer projection lens.

There is an extra switch fitted, in addition to the usual 'motor' and 'lamp'. I guess this was to be 'reverse run' but no doubt there were technical problems discovered when trying to achieve this, so the extra switch is just marked 'rewind' and all it does is short out the motor speed control!

Typical serial numbers: 8mm: 8402 ; 9.5mm: 9048. Whilst I have had a couple of Mk V111 (8mm) models through my hands, I have yet to see a Mk XV1 (16mm model)

Pathéscope Gazette magazine (last issue!) April/May 1959

I have recently got around to running my 9.5mm Pathéscope Mk 9 cine projector. Although it already had an earthed three-core mains lead , the lamp cable had perished badly because of the heat and the mains lead hanging loose in the projector body had badly chafed against the cross drive, almost to a point when there would have been a flash over! A rather poor design point. The wiring underneath is a bit casual.... Maybe it wasn't Pathéscope who assembled these machines, but that metal pressing set-up (famous for lemon squeezers?) who probably had little experience with electrics.

New mains cable nicely clipped in place - a useful mod to avoid the cable being chaffed!

New mains cable fitted, but lamp cable still to replace, see where the cable ends are badly perished!
Better motor and fixings on this re-design, motor speed control on rhs

I'm always interested to hear of any Pathéscope Mk 9 machines to get some idea of the production run of these projectors.
Contact me - Grahame Newnham at:-
presto @ (no spaces in actual email address)

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Created 14Oct2015 .......... Last updated: 27 August 2018 ........... 95gearpathe1gem.htm ............ ©MMXV Grahame Newnham's Web Pages
04Jul2016 - 16mm Gem photos added / 11Jun2018 - extra photos & text for the Mk 9 projector added