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Cine-Kodak Special Manufacturing Date


James Rhodes
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I recently purchased a very nice Cine-Kodak Special 16mm camera on eBay (the original model with the flat, non-divergent turret). The serial number is 4736. Does anyone have an idea when it was manufactured? I'm thinking late 30's or early 40's. Thanks.

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No, just the numbers 4736. I think it was made before the CAMEROSITY code was used. The literature that came with the camera is dated from the late 30s to the early 40s, which may be a clue. It has the original mask set, the care instructions have the date code 6-38. The 100 foot magazine that came with it is stamped 100-6161. I can't be sure it was the original one that came with the camera, though. I know the same magazines were used with the Cine-Special II.

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Here are some photos that may be helpful. The turret plate is different from others I've seen, which are usually either missing or have exposure tables printed on them. This one is solid black. The 15mm lens finder glass is cracked, otherwise the camera is in excellent condition, with only minor wear. I'm surprised Kodak hasn't provided a reference for this.

CKS2b.jpg

CKS3.JPG

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Thanks, Simon. That's good to know. I'm very impressed with it, and after oiling it I looking forward to using it, mainly for time-lapse and other single-frame work. It's a very heavy, seemingly well made camera with many of the features of the Bolex H16 cameras for a much lower price. By the way, reading your previous positive comments on these cameras is one of the reasons I purchased it. I have been considering getting one for a long time.

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It just occurred to me that if the camera was in the fourth year of production, might it not have been manufactured in 1936?

Year 1=1933, year 2=1934, year 3=1935, year 4=1936.

The serial number 4736 ends in 36, which might also be significant. If the 7 indicates month, perhaps it was made in July of 1936, in the fourth year of production? Just a thought. 

Thanks, Simon and Philip for your input.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Simon Wyss said:

The way I read the serial number your camera is from 1937, 4 for fourth year of production. 

There is no such connection.  The number is just a straight sequential serial number.  No production year, no codes.  Just a number.  The number of your camera would place it somewhere around 1940, if production was fairly consistent from year to year.  There were about 9000 CS-I cameras made between 1933 and 1948.  

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13 hours ago, James Rhodes said:

Here are some photos that may be helpful. The turret plate is different from others I've seen, which are usually either missing or have exposure tables printed on them. This one is solid black. The 15mm lens finder glass is cracked, otherwise the camera is in excellent condition, with only minor wear. I'm surprised Kodak hasn't provided a reference for this.

CKS2b.jpg

CKS3.JPG

Kodak very likely does not have a reference for this, but I've been collecting serial numbers on these for years.  Part of my reply to Simon below should have been addressed to you.  Proportionally, yours would fall sometime around 1940, so maybe give or take a year.  

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14 hours ago, James Rhodes said:

 The 100 foot magazine that came with it is stamped 100-6161. I can't be sure it was the original one that came with the camera, though. I know the same magazines were used with the Cine-Special II.

That number is in the correct sequence to be the original mag.  

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Thanks for the information, Simon and Michael. 9000 cameras produced in a fifteen year period works out to about 600 per year. It doesn’t seem like that many, but the first half of its production run was during the Great Depression, and these cameras were very expensive for the average person. So I can tentatively date the camera around 1940/41, give or take a couple of years. The brass plate under the turret where owners would have their names engraved is blank, so no clues there. Thanks again!

 

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I think I may have the likely answer. I checked the serial number of the 25mm Anastigmat lens that likely was sold with the camera, as they generally came with this standard lens. The serial number is EY00458. Refer to the excerpt below from bnphoto.org/bnphoto/LFN/KodakID_htm:

Kodak assigned serial numbers to Anastigmat Special/Anastar and Ektar lens. Prior to about 1940 it used a single numeric sequence, 54321, while serial numbers after that were alpha-numeric, two letters and three or four numbers -- ES3682. The letters in the U. S. were mapped to the word (sic) "CAMEROSITY", while in England, the mapping was to "CUMBERLAND".    
 
http://www.bnphoto.org/bnphoto/LFN/KodakID_db_bak0910_files/camerosity.gif
EY = 1940
EC = 1941
EA = 1942
EM = 1943
EE = 1944
ER = 1945
EO = 1946
ES = 1947
EI = 1948
ET = 1949
 
RY = 1950
RC = 1951
RA = 1952
RM = 1953
RE = 1954
RR = 1955
RO = 1956
RS = 1957
RI = 1958
RT = 1959
OY = 1960
OC = 1961
OA = 1962
OM = 1963
OE = 1964
OR = 1965
OO = 1966
OS = 1967
OI = 1968
OT = 1969

 

The EY prefix of the lens serial number dates the camera/lens combination to 1940. Michael nailed it! Thanks for your input, Philip, Simon, and Michael.

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That is a good way to date these, provided you are fairly certain the lens is the original one with the camera.  Yours also fits in sequence so probably is, but I would be cautious in general trying to date these that way because lenses were often switched, upgraded, added by later owners, or simply replaced, so it's one of those things that warrants care and is most credible when all the numbers are in the proper range.  

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 I agree with you, Michael, that is would be wise to consider the lens date circumstantial evidence. I wouldn't say with certainty it dates from 1940, but it is probably very close to that date (circa 1940). It will probably be impossible to state with certainty the exact year of manufacture, since Kodak didn't appear to keep detailed records of their early models like Paillard-Bolex.  One of the reasons I bought it, besides its collector's value, is that I can do basic lubrication on it myself and it's still a viable camera for the single-frame work I intend to do with it. Eastman Kodak very thoughtfully provided lubrication ports throughout the camera. Plus I have read on this forum that it's not terribly difficult to disassemble for a thorough cleaning and greasing. I will wait on that until I get a copy of the military service manual. I have the parts list but that's all it is: a parts list. Right now it runs nice and smooth for an 80+ year-old camera, and I'm good with that. Thanks, Michael.

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