Kalee 12

This restoration came together quite quickly as we already had a picture head cleaned up and waiting for something to happen. It's serial number is 16543 which makes it a fairly late model.

The Kalee 12 was introduced in 1939 and was the last mainstream projector produced by Kershaws, before the post war 18, 19, 20 and 21 models were introduced from 1948 onwards. The model 12 proved extremely durable and popular with cinema operators. Many examples could be seen at work well into the 1980's.

Unlike the model 11 it has a drum shutter (Kershaws still following Erneman practice!). They only ever used it on this model and post war projectors reverted to rear shutter. Like the model 11 it had pumped oil lubrication hence the unique bubble atop the picture head within which oil cascades like a soda fountain when the projector is in motion.

The sound head selected for this model is the Western Electric 200B or 3A. This is the model introduced in the 1930's after the sound head fitted to their Universal Base.

It retains a lot the optics and film transport system of the 1B and many of the parts are interchangeable. It doesn't have the awkward shute down to the bottom spool box that was fitted to the 1B. It does retain in a different form the huge motor driven flywheel.

The sound head as obtained was incomplete and very rusty as the pictures show it was minus its optics and film scanning unit. We were able to replace these from our own stock of Universal Base bits. It was also necessary to fabricate a box to hold the preamp and solar cell. This was fixed to the front of the sound head and doesn't look too unlike that which WE later fitted.

Solar cells are becoming difficult to find these days. If you are looking for one, may we suggest that you buy some solar powered garden lights from the 99p shop these contain solar cells of just the right size and they work really well.

The heavy duty stand comes in two pieces. The top half holds the brackets for the lamp house and also has a shelf for the drive motor this drives the sound head fly wheel via two rope belts, which in our case were long gone. They were replaced with leather sewing machine belting, which at £5 per metre is costly but essential. Exactly four metres is required to fabricate the two belts.

The Commander arc lamp required very little restoration and is complete with all of its innards, only the carbon alignment plate on the outside needed replacing. The lamp house probably came from a Kalee 40 outfit ( the no frills hospital model), but we know of at least one local cinema that ran these with Kalee 12's. Anyway these were offered in Kershaw's post War catalogue as a stand alone option to purchase, so they must have been popular. A great deal of peripheral bits and pieces were required to complete the project. Power switches, wiring, glands, nuts and bolts, all in imperial sizes. All these bits of the right vintage are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Restoration History


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