Restoring a Standard Simplex

The 'Standard' Simplex was first introduced in 1911. It was such a successful design, that, with improvements over the years, it continued in production until eventually it was superseded by the 'Super' Simplex which was introduced in 1929. Production finally finished in 1937 with serial number 51537.

The 'Standard' had many advanced features for its time, including an intermittent movement which could be changed quickly if required, the ability to alter shutter synchronisation while the projector was running, optical centre framing, removable gate and removable gate masks.

Manufactured by the Precision Machine Company Company in New York City.

Our example was manufactured in 1936 and has the serial number ??????

The Sound Head

We matched the projector up with an RCA 1041 sound head, firstly because we had the gearing to link the two components and secondly because a large number of Simplex machines were coupled with RCA sound heads. The picture below shows the coupler in place linking the projector's gearing with that of the sound head via a fibre gear. When sound on film was introduced in 1929 RCA refused to install their sound equipment in cinemas in the USA unless it was linked with Simplex projectors.

The sound head when obtained, was in poor condition and required considerable work to get it looking acceptable. Quite a few parts had to be replaced as well.

The Stand

The stand is a Simplex lightweight type. As with all 35mm projector stands the sound head bolts directly onto the front of it, in the case of the 1041, with four bolts. The projector is bolted to the sound head and the top and bottom spool boxes attached. Quite a bit of weight hanging on six bolts, but that's the way it's done. Unfortunately our stand came with the wrong fixing bracket.

The one we had was actually for a much earlier RCA sound head the PS?????? Fortunately the Projected Picture Trust came to our aid ,,, again! And we were able to do a swop for the correct one. The PPT have an example of the very early sound head and hopefully they will be able build up what will be a rare machine.

The Lamp House

The lamp house is a 'Monarc' Designed for the smaller cinema, much like the Kalee 'Universal'. It was introduced in the 1930's by cinema equipment supplier J. Frank Brockliss. The advert below appeared in May 1939.

As can be seen from the advertisement, the colour of the lamp house was black. Ours was originally beige and rusty.


One more to add to the collection and underneath another 'Standard' waits in the queue, for attention.

The spool is a 2000 foot cast example, manufactured by Goldberg Brothers in Denver Colorado. Surfing the web for Simplex pictures has convinced us that no Simplex is complet without a spare hooked under the lamp house.


Restoration History


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