Acme Model 6 Rackover Camera

Acme’s Model 6 camera was the mainstay in optical printing, animation, and matte painting composite photography work for decades. The Acme Tool and Manufacturing Company began as a contract machine shop in the late 1920’s and entered the motion picture camera manufacturing business in 1930 when they were approached by Walt Disney to modify a Bell & Howell 2709 for animation work. They began making their own cameras shortly after this, beginning with the Acme Model 5 and evolving to the Model 6 and beyond. Acme cameras were ideally suited for visual effects work because of their updated, steady unit “I” shuttle movement, improved viewfinder, and ease of access to essential camera controls. This particular camera is unique in that it features a rackover viewfinding system and a 4-hole lens turret, features that were not common on Model 6 cameras. A unique accessory available from Acme was their stop motion motor. The motor was adjustable in ¼ second, ½ second, 1 second, 2 second, and 4 second exposure times, ideal for animation, matte painting, and optical printing. We are not sure who the original owner of this camera was, but at some point in its life, it belonged to Cinema Research Corporation, a major optical and visual effects house in Hollywood from 1953 until 2000. We acquired this camera from the studio of Rocco Gioffre, a masterful matte painting artist, model maker, and filmmaker.

The Acme Tool and Manufacturing Company was founded in Los Angeles in the late 1920's by Adolph Furer. They built their first motion picture camera in 1930 for Walt Disney, the Acme Model 5. Following this, Acme began to manufacture a full line of animation equipment including animation stands, animation boards, and cell punches. In 1936, they helped Disney build the Multiplane Animation Stand that was used on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937). In 1939, Adolph retired and sold his interest in the company to his son Edward. It was Edward to moved the business toward developing and manufacturing special effects equipment in addition to their animation products. In 1949, the company name was changed to Producers Service Company and optical printers and and process cameras became a key part of their repertoire. They established Photo-Sonics Inc. in 1952 with a focus on the design and manufacture of precision high speed cameras for the military. Photo-Sonics, Inc. continues today as a major manufacturer of photo optical instruments and high speed cameras.

A few highlights of Acme's 90 plus year history include:
- Development of an early Kinescope camera that recorded live television broadcasts on film (1946).
- In cooperation with Linwood Dunn, the Eastman Kodak Company, and the U.S. military, they developed and manufactured the Acme-Dunn Optical Printer. In 1980, Linwood Dunn, Cecil Love and the Acme Tool and Manufacturing Company were awarded a Scientific or Technical Award (Academy Award of Merit) for the concept, engineering, and development of the Acme-Dunn Optical Printer.
- In 1988, Photo-Sonics received a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the development of the 4ER high speed motion picture camera. $1,200 Item #C12072

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