by Grahame Newnham B.Sc.

In what was to be the last issue of the UK Pathéscope house magazine, the Pathéscope Gazette, dated April/May 1959, a range of new 9.5mm (and 8mm) equipment was announced. This included the 9.5mm British made "Prince" camera and "Princess" projector but also a number of items from the French ex-parent company S.C.I. Pathé. (The recently re-organised Pathéscope (Great Britain) Ltd company were no longer a subsidiary of the French company, just sole concessionaires for their products). All these items were to feature on Pathéscope (Great Britain) Ltd's stand number 59 at the forthcoming Photo-Fair held regularly at Olympia, London.

Pathéscope Gazette magazine April/May 1959

Announced as 'The Debutante of the Year' was the Pathé Baby projector. No, not a revamp of the original 1923 9.5mm cine projector, but a modern 500 watt machine actually marketed as the "Pathé Baby 60", presumably relating to the forthcoming year 1960.

Pathéscope UK sales leaflet - 1959

This model was one of the last in the French made Webo Joinville series of projectors which began life just after the second war with a range of machines launched in France in both 9.5mm and 16mm. The "Pax" being the UK name given to the optical sound version of the design by young engineer Jean Wesbrodt. (It is said the name 'Webo' came from a contraction of his name and that of then S.C.I. Pathé commercial director Jacques Broido). A "Pathé Baby 53" silent 9.5mm projector had been launched in France in 1953 although not sold in the UK. This earlier version had a 200 watt pre-focus lamp and was the smallest in the Joinville range.

9.5mm Pathé Baby 53 cine projector

The Joinville designs feature a single main shaft carrying shutter, claw cam and inching knob with twin pinions driving large 12 tooth sprockets. In the Pathe Baby 60, a series wound, radio/TV suppressed, brush type 110 volt motor ((brushes 5mm square section), drives this shaft via a pulley and 3.25 inch diameter belt. There is a variable speed control and internal dropper resistance with an external tapping for 110 volt or 220 volt supplies. The lamp is a mains voltage (230/240 volt in the UK), 500 watt prefocus A1/7 type. An extra motor dropper resistance is 'hooked up' inside the UK version to provide for the extra 20 volts on our 240 volt supply. Mains input is via a detachable twin core cable and two-pin European type plug. For use today it may be prudent to modify this to include an electrical earth connection. Although most other Webo Joinville projectors sport the 'standard' lens mount of 32.5mm, the Pathé Baby 60 has a smaller mount of 27mm diameter but is still fitted with a good quality Som Berthiot Cinor 40mm f1.5 coated projection lens. (Serial number R11326 on my example)

9.5mm Pathé Baby 60 cine projector

The mechanism is assembled on a mazak type grey hammer finish metal casting which is built into a neat 9 x 7.5 x 10 inch light coloured leather grained wood case fitted with a matching leather handle. The whole weighing under 10 lbs. A removable section of the case reveals the operating side with fold out 400ft spool arms. Incidentally the spring take-up belt is pulled down and clipped over a tiny plated peg under the machine for storage. A sprung foot at the front allows tilting adjustment. The advertised 'power rewind' is only achieved at normal speed by swopping the feed and take-up spools. A single oiling point at the top of the mechanism plate optimistically aims by capillary action to provide lubrication to the cam mechanism. As in the "Pax" the lens mount has a small lever to provide semi-optical framing and the whole assembly with the gate front pressure plate opens wide for cleaning and threading. Although the gate does not feature sprung edge quides, it is formed from stainless steel and fully relieved over the picture area. The picture aperture on my example is exactly 8.0mm x 6.0mm. In practice the gate design and twin claw provide a rock steady picture. The three bladed shutter and gentle pull-down provide light transmission of around 40%.

The back of the leaflet above, but this is a reprinted Pathéscope (London) Ltd one from 1961 or so

It would be interesting to know how many of these machines were sold in 9.5mm (Pathé also offered this design in a standard 8mm version); my example, found for me many years ago by our friends at Buckingham has a serial number of 025664. I have seen few if any examples for sale secondhand in the UK although the restructured Pathéscope (London) Ltd continued marketing them into the middle 1960's (at £48) through their main dealer D.M. Bentley. Michael Bentley only remembers selling a handfull of this model which Pathéscope used to order specially from France - it seems the little 9.5mm Cinegel machines were the big sellers by then. In France one or two Pathé Baby 60's do turn up at Film Fairs but often the Std 8mm model not 9.5mm.

Only recently did I get out my own Pathé Baby 60 to show a few friends at our Southampton 9.5 Group meeting and realised what a neat, lightweight modern machine it was. Easy to thread, it gave an excellent bright rock steady picture from recent 9.5mm footage, although it was not so happy with a very old shrunken printed film. Once set, the motor runs at constant speed with none of the 'hunting' typical of a well known other design. Certainly a machine to seek out for use here in Europe and also in the USA where the 110 volt setting and variable speed motor will take care of the different mains supply voltage and frequency (110 volts and 60 Hz), although it would then need a 110/120 volt P28 500 watt A1/7 (CZX/DAB) lamp.


(This article appeared in the Autumn 2001 (No.107) copy of '9.5' the magazine of the UK Group 9.5)

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15April2014 Photos added
Last updated: 23 November 2015 ..................... 95gearpat1baby.htm .......... ©MM1 G.L. Newnham
15April2014 - photo & leaflet scan added / 09Dec2014 - Baby 53 photo & back of leaflet scan added