As Easily Handled as a Rifle
A Revolutionary Motion Picture Camera
Charles W. Person
CARL E. AKELEY of the American Museum of Natural History has evolved a motion-picture camera so novel in its constructional and operaating features that it gives promise of revolutionizing at least one of the diversified fields of motion-picture photography—that of the naturalist and big game hunter. It is the first motionpicture camera equipped with the necessary mechanism to enable it to enter the hitherto unexplored realm of the hand or still camera and thus place within the scope of the operator all the vast possibilities of quick action and instantaneous photography.
It is only natural that Mr. Akeley should accomplish something permanently valuable in motion-picture photography, since his wide experience as explorer and inventor has enabled him to discover at first hand the many limits and inherent deficiencies of the modern apparatus. As an inventor he is identified with the cement-gun and with many accessories to the hunter’s craft, but he is perhaps best known as the man who has elevated taxidermy from the upholstery trade into an art. Many animals which form the most valuable
exhibits in our museums he has hunted and killed in their native haunts, sculpturing their bodies in clay before he covers them with their own skins.
As a hunter of big game in the wilds of Africa he has used the ordinary motion-picture camera, to find it deficient and even useless. He has attempted time and time again, and at risk of great personal danger, to photograph a herd of charging elephants, or an alligator stealing on its prey, or a trapped lion in its death throes, only to be disappointed in the finished film. He once had the rare opportunity to photograph a real battle between giant ants of the tropics, but before he could adjust the intricate mechanism of the camera and set it up it was too late. It was disappointments like these that stimulated him to concentrate his technical knowledge on plans for a new camera.
There are parts of the Akeley camera which have yet to be named—theyare so new. Indeed, the instrument is such a radical departure from the newest of the old-style machines, that it has few features in common with them. Primarily it was constructed to enable the operator, under all conditions, to take a picture in a minimum of time. To be exact, it can be mounted and trained on an object in thirty seconds, which is a feat impossible with the old-style apparatus. Furthermore, it can be rotated either in a horizontal or a vertical position, and it can take panoramic pictures at any rate of speed desired. These are only two of many important features which show the versatility of the machine.
The ordinary motionpicture camera is limited in operation to an angle of forty - five degrees above or below the horizontal. It must be used on a tripod, carefully leveled. In taking pano-
ramie pictures, two cranks, one for the horizontal movement, and the other for the perpendicular movement, must be turned simultaneously, either forward or backward, according to the direction of the swing required. Moreover, the panoramic action is confined to rectangular movements.
Other restrictions are the awkward lens adjustments; the friction of the film, which causes static electricity; excessive noise, making the machine impracticable for nature and wild animal photography; its bulkiness and weight; the long time required to assemble it and prepare it for operation; the lack of climate-resisting qualities; the numerous loose parts and
accessories, and other handicaps too numerous to mention here.
The camera invented by Mr. Akeley overcomes these imperfections with a mechanism entirely new. In form his camera is cylindrical. It rotates in a steel ring on ball-bearings and is supported by a curved arm, which rises from a sub-base on which the panoramic-base rests when in operation. The complete apparatus, camera and panoramic devices, form a single compact unit to be used with or without a tripod.
By merely pressing the lever at the top of the supporting arm the camera automatically levels itself and upon releasing the lever remains rigidly in that position. Without requiring any previous adjustment or setting, as is the case with the cameras generally used, it can be quickly adapted to any kind of panoramic view to be taken. A horizontal panoramic adjustment may be readily changed to a vertical adjustment and vice versa, while by manipulating the finger-piece the direction of rotation and the speed at which such rotation takes place may be adapted to prevailing conditions in a quick and reliable manner.
Details of a Remarkable Motion-Picture Camera
The Film Cutter
Five features distinguish Carl Akeley’s camera from all existing apparatus. The film cutter shown at the right is used to cut a hole in the film to indicate to the developer when a given series has come to an end. The hole is also used as an aperture through which the operator can stop the machine, puncture the film, and then focus to a dead accuracy on a ground glass. Consequently, when the film is developed the perforation notifies the operator exactly where the stop was made. The cutter is actuated by a pull and push rod leading to the outside of the camera. One push of the rod cuts a hole in the film and brings the ground glass into position. An eye-piece attached to the film cutter enables the operator to locate the image on the ground glass and regulate the focussing and diaphragm dials
Eliminating Friction of the Film
The film box, as shown above, consists of two telescoping shells which are locked together by a pin and slot device. The inner shell has a spring with a roller end over which the film feeds out. This roller end serves to eliminate friction and also prevents scratching while taking pictures. The spring stud of the main driving shaft locks the film box with the driving gears, which in turn rotate the film at the speed set by the operator
Carl Akeley’s Wonderful Invention
Getting Rid of the Flicker
The finger mechanism illustrated below controls the speed and feed of the film. As the main shaft revolves the eccentric bearing operates the finger, which passes through a slot in the film guide and engages the perforations of the film. As the main shaft turns, the finger is inserted in the film
perforations and withdrawn from them one by one so that the film is literally picked along. This gives a uniform movement and entirely eliminates all “jerkiness”
Seeing the Image
The eye-piece, as shown above, enables the photographer to see the actual image being recorded on the negative something hitherto unheard of. It consists of a square metal box with a sliding end fitted with a light-proof, black velvet rim for the eye. A spring which serves to lift the eye-piece up and which closes the finding aperture by a metal stop at the same time, is pressed down when the eye rests against the rim. This gives the photographer an unobstructed view of the image falling on the negative
How the Shutter Works
The shutter, illustrated above, consists of the main or outer shell of the camera containing the lens opening and a secondary shell half cut away, this latter being the shutter proper. As the secondary shell revolves over the main shell the lens opening is alternately closed and shut by that portion of the secondary shutter which has not been cut away. The exposure efficiency is increased to eighty-five per cent
The camera can be mounted in the twinkling of an eye for rapid picturetaking. It can be trained in any direction as accurately and as quickly as a cowboy can draw a gun. If a tripod is not at hand a window-sill, a rock, a saddle-horn, a tree-branch, a knee—in fact, anything stationary may serve as a base for operations.
Where quick action is absolutely imperative, the newspaper photographer can film every stage of an exciting fire rescue, or a riot, or a sinking ship, or an explosion, or a shooting, or, indeed, anything heretofore solely within the compass of the hand or still camera.
The lens adjustments, instead of being in front, are in the rear, so that focussing through a diaphragm according to light conditions may be carried on while the picture is being taken. By means of an ingenious eye-piece the actual image on the film may be observed during the process of exposure. To appreciate the importance of this, it may be said that it never has been accomplished before in either still or motion cameras. The eye - piece remains closed until the eye is pressed against a lightproof, black velvet rim ; the actual image being recorded on the negative is seen.
It is impossible to turn the camera so rapidly in any direction that a blur is produced. The range of tilting and “panoraming”permits the operator to turn his lens straight up or straight down beneath the camera itself. This enables the operator to photograph an ant hill or nest one moment and a Zeppelin the next. All friction danger is eliminated so that the film can not be scratched while taking pictures. The camera complete weighs thirty pounds; the old-style apparatus weighs from fifty to seventy-five pounds.
The film-containing box has very little in common with the boxes now used. The camera may be run at the standard speed of sixteen pictures a second, or the speed may be doubled or trebled, as desired.
The Finger Talk of Chicago’s Wheat-Pit
THE Chicago Board of Trade is by far the most important grain exchange, not only of this country, but of the world, and few people are familiar with its method of operation.
People who visit the Board of Trade are perhaps most impressed by the sign language used in buying and selling
grain for future delivery. Unlike anything else seen in any other line of business this wonderful system, while simple in its execution, nevertheless puzzles the uninitiated. It is a system that has grown up with the Board, and traders would be helpless without it. In that awful din where hundreds of men and boys are rushing about and shouting and countless telegraph instruments are clicking, individual voices are smothered and the trader must talk with his hands.
He has no time to waste—a lost second may mean hundreds of dollars to him. By a simple movement of his fingers the trader makes it known whether he would buy or sell, what price he is willing to pay or take and what quantity he wishes to trade in. All the information necessary to consummate a deal, involving perhaps thousands of dollars, is conveyed by a few motions of the hand.
Each finger extendea represents oneeighth of a cent. Thus when all four fingers and the thumb are extended, all being spread out from one another, it means five-eighths. When the four fingers and thumb are extended, but are
pressed close together, it represents threequarters. The clenched hand with the thumb alone extended is seven-eighths, while for an even cent the closed fist is used. The thumb protruding between the index and big finger is the signal for a split quotation. Nothing less than
10.000 bushels can be traded in on a split quotation, which if 90%—%, means that half is taken at 90% cents and half at 90% cents. These characters refer to the price, and the hands and fingers are held in a horizontal position. When displayed vertically the quantity is indicated, each extended finger representing
5.000 bushels. When.the desire is to sell, the palm of the hand is held outward, and when the trader wishes to buy he signals with the palm facing him.
Experimenting with the Siphon
ASIMPLY-constructed siphon offers a most fertile field for amateur experimentation. In some cases water can be made to flow straight up twenty feet into the air until it passes the curve in
the siphon and flows down again.
To carry on a series of experiments all the apparatus needed is a piece of glasstubing and a connected piece of rubber-tubing. The glass tube may be bent in an alcohol flame, and a siphon so constructed that it will take water upward for six feet or more, and then downward in the other arm. If the joints are made tight the water will flow even higher. When the water has passed from one vessel into the other, the lower vessel may be raised, and back the water will flow, thus running uphill and downhill. The only difficulty in this experiment, aside from making the joints tight, is to fill the pipe at the start. This may be done by filling the entire pipe when the parts are all on the same level. The ends may then be stopped and the one end raised into a perpendicular position.
But with all siphons of this kind the trouble is to establish a permanent conduit between the two receptacles, since the siphon will exhaust itself unless the
higher vessel is always kept filled. A siphon will not wait for a fresh supply of water, but will empty itself and cease to act.
Recently one experimenter was obliged to devise a means whereby the siphon would hold its contents and wait for a fresh supply. This was accomplished by turning up one or both ends of the siphon. By this method a series of aquaria was connected so that water would run through the tubing and wait for a supply ; that is, a tiny stream would keep the supply to the siphon running continuously, and the siphon would hold the water running at a permanent height.
Theoretically it is the push and not the pull that causes the water to run. The pressure of the air on the surface of the water in the upper vessel pushes the water up to take the place of what would be a vacuum. The action is similar to the pull on the part of two pulleys, in which one is heavier than the other. It is evident that the heavier weight pulls up the lighter. So it is with the siphon. The curved angle of the siphon takes the place of the pulley, and the long arm full of water takes the place of the heavier weight. Once the long arm full of water starts it “pulls” the contents of the shorter arm.
Forty Miles an Hour on the Water
A BOAT has been designed by D. N. Brown, of Grand Haven, Mich., which, on test runs, has attained a speed of forty miles an hour. The body of the craft is made of thin galvanized iron over a basswood framework two feet wide and twenty feet long. Two galvanized iron air-tanks are attached to an outrigger five feet from the rear end on both sides. When the four-cylinder motor, set in the rear, whirls a six-inch propeller, the prow rises out of the water a::d the craft skims along like a huge bird over the surface, the entire weight resting on about three feet of the stern. The two tanks maintain the equilibrium.
The boat has proved a success in all ways and the inventor believes, with an improved design, that he will have a craft capable of making sixty miles an hour without being crowded.
It is evident that the inventor reduces skin friction as much as he can, for which reason he is able to travel at high speed in his boat.
What Ho! The Jitney Yacht
THAT every man who runs may cruise the seven seas, a jitney
yacht has been evolved. It is indeed a peace ship—a one-piece—one man, semisubmersible. A glance at the anatomical chart appended, will explain the action
of this rakish craft. Lie down comfortably upon the keel of the ship (which should be so laid as not to interfere unduly with any of your spinal peculiarities), grasp the conical rudder-control with both hands, set your gaze intently upon your goal and pedal for dear life.
The rudder is a ball and socket affair that will steer the ship in any direction in the water. The pedal-propellergearing is at a two to one ratio to insure speed, and the pontoons A A, are inflated to the required buoyancy; i. e., to float about one-third out of the water.
With a score of these one-man scouts darting across the water a battleship’s squadron might anchor in perfect security and laugh at the deadly submarine. Or they might be hitched tandem, so that you may invite your fair Jady to take the air on the ocean and save not only the carfare to the nearest beach, but bath-house hire as well.
New York is the World’s Luxury Market
the world’s central market for the sale of luxuries of every description, has been practically closed and New York has taken its place. Custom House records show that the imports of the “luxury class” have increased enormously, particularly in the items of precious stones and works of art. As a single example, the American automobile industry’s imports of crude rubber in the past year amounted to more than $111,000,000.
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