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Created 15 September 2005 ... Updated 24 December 2005

Ditmar 2960 Dual Gauge Projector
Ditmar Dual Gauge This poor old projector had long been forgotten, stored in a box, in an old Viennese basement until someone decided to get rid of his grandparent's stuff. It was sold on eBay as a 'box of old photography equipment'. Luckily the seller didn't take the time to unpack the box and take pictures of every single item as these projectors usually sell for well over EUR 50. Let alone the other equipment that was in the box. On one hand lucky for me but on the other hand it's gotten more expensive since then, for what are you going to do with a fully working projector without films?

Of course, being an old projector, with an old engine and rubber belts, there was some work to be done. Trying to get replacement belts for the dried up rubber belts turned out to be the most difficult task. The local shops got rid of all their movie equipment long ago and when there was some left, it was all for 8mm and not larger projectors. One of the shops still had a repair person that used to make new belts but he was not too keen on helping me out and it took him a long time. In the mean time I found the website of Mr Giessmann in Germany who had probably bought a few kilometers of material that can be used for belts. He now sells this stock in meter lengths which can be cut to size and when the ends are heated and melted together, you'll get a very strong, and apparently long-lasting, belt.

Even though burning old dust and oil during projection of a movie makes for an authentic ambiance, it can't be good for the projector so it had to be taken apart, dusted off and the oil had to be replaced. It spins now with a lot less noise than before and it also appears to be a little faster but that might be imagination.

The Ditmar projector series

During the late 1920s, amateur cinema started to become popular. There had been many tries for home cinema formats before but when the French company Pathé started building a cheap line of projectors for their new neun-five (ninety-five, named after the 9.5 millimeter with of the film) film format, home cinema finally took off. The cheapest projector was a hand cranked version, the next step up was a hand cranked version that could be upgraded with an external motor and the best, and most expensive, version was just like a 'real' projector, with a built in motor. The original idea was to rent out or sell short versions of cinema movies but soon customers started asking for cameras to make their own movies.

Ditmar Dual Gauge Originally a manufacturer of lighting equipment, oil lamps and such, Ditmar stepped in the home cinema market in 1935 with a range of cameras. These cameras were the Model 2187 (8mm), Model 2190 (9.5mm) and Model 2165 (16mm). To have a complete system, this camera line was followed by a dual gauge home cinema projector line a few years later. Projectors in this line were the Model 2890 (9.5 and 8 mm), Model 2860 (8 and 16mm) and Model 2960 (9.5 and 16mm). The motors were produced in Germany and the other parts were produced in Vienna, as the end assembly. Production was stopped during WW2 but started again in the 1950s. Earlier models have black hammer lack while later models are have a 'modern' grey paint. Apparently the post-war demand was not too high or competition was stronger than before but Ditmar has not produced any cinema equipment after the late 1950s.

These projectors are mainly interesting due to the fact that they can project two film formats. This is reached by having two separate film paths, one for the one format and the second for the other format. The projection bulb need to be slided to the correct side as well to allow for maximum light. Film speed is variable, as was common during those years. Cameras didn't have fixed film speeds so there was no need for fixed projection speeds either. The speed was simply set to what the eye would think correct.

Further features are fast rewind, backward projection and the easy and user-friendly maintenance, no need to use a screw driver to perform normal maintenance operations. The oil points are clearly marked with red dots and everything opens in a way that you can easily reach and replace the belts and the light bulb. Operation is for 110 and 220 volt systems and is set, as common in this time, with a resistor plug so make sure the plug is at the correct setting before you operate the projector for the first time.
Excerpt from a 1938 catalogue:
Herlango Jubiläumsführer
80 Jahre Herlango und Vorgängerfirmen 1858 - 1938

Der Ditmar-Zweiformat-Projektor

hat gegenüber den üblichen Projektoren die bemerkenswerte Eigenschaft, daß zwei Filme verschiedenen Formates abwechselnd und ohne zeitraubende oder technische Kenntnisse voraussetzende Montage vorgeführt werden können. Der Kinoamateur wird so in die Lage versetzt, einerseits seine eigenen Aufnahmen, die möglicherweise auf 8 mm ausgeführt wurden, als auch Leih- und Spielfilme im Format von 9½ mm oder 16 mm vorzuführen. Der Projektor wird in drei Typen, nämlich für 8- und 16-mm-, 8- und 9½-mm-Filme und 9½- und 16-mm-Filme herausgebracht. Alle für die jeweilige Formatabänderung benötigten Teile sind stets betriebsbereit und im Projektor eingebaut. Die Umstellung von einem Format auf das andere erfolgt mit einfachen Handgriffen in kürzester Zeit.

Das lichtstarke Markenobjektiv 1 : 1,6 wird in den Brennweiten 25, 35, 50 und 65 mm geliefert. Man kann daher sowohl vom gleichen Standpunkt aus verschieden große Bilder auf den Schirm projizieren, den Projektor aber auch für Projektionsentfernungen bis zu 20 m bei einer Bildgröße von mehr als 6 m benützen. Der Projektor kann mit Projektionslampen von 100 bis 750 Watt (je nach der erforderlichen Lichtstärke) ausgestattet werdden. Die vollkommene Flimmerfreiheit des Ditmar - Kinoprojektors wird durch eine dreiflügelige Hinterblende, die beim Formatwechsel weder verschoben noch ausgewechselt werden muß, gewährleistet.

Der Projektor ist mit einem Universalmotor ausgerüstet, der sowohl für Gleich- als auch für Wechselstrom verwendet werden kann. Der eingebaute Widerstand erlaubt den Anschluß an die verschiedenen üblichen Spannungen. Stillstandvorrichtung, sichtbarer Rücklauf, motorische Rückspulung des Films unter gleichzeitiger Ausschaltung der Projektionslampe und eingebauter Störschutz - der gleichzeitigen störungsfreie Rundfunkempfang gewährleistet - sind einige weitere praktische Vorteile dieses beliebten Projektionsgerätes.

DITMAR Kino-Projektor Nr. 2890 A
Für 8- und 9.5-mm-Filme, kompl. mit Objektiv 1:1,6 F=35 mm : RM 440

DITMAR Kino-Projektor Nr. 2860 A
Für 8- und 16-mm-Filme, kompl. mit Objektiv 1:1,6 F=35 mm : RM 440

DITMAR Kino-Projektor Nr. 2960 A
Für 9,5- und 16-mm-Filme, kompl. mit Objektiv 1:1,6 F=50 mm : RM 440

(Vorstehende Preise für Projektoren verstehen sich mit je einer Rapid-Spule 140 m für die beiden Formate und 1 Fläschchen Spezialöl, ohne Projektionslampe und ohne Koffer.)

DITMAR "Rapid"-Spulen mit patent. Einfädelvorrichtung
für 140 m 8-, 9.5- oder 16-mm-Film in Dose : RM 4.50
für  60 m 8-, 9.5- oder 16-mm-Film in Dose : RM 3.60

DITMAR Aluminium-Spulen
für 140 m 8-, 9.5- oder 16-mm-Filme : RM 2.35
für  60 m 8-, 9.5- oder 16-mm-Filme : RM 1.55

Ditmar 2960

Type  :  Dual-gauge movie projector
Manufactured  :  1937
Lens  :  changable projection lens
mine: Laack-Rathenow Helestar 1:1.6 f=2,5cm
Speeds  :  variable from slow - fast, backward / forward, fast rewind.
Make sure the lens is switched off when halting the film as the heat of the projector lamp will burn the film.
Power  :  110 and 220 Volt, power cord for wall outlet (no external power supply needed)
Film Format  :  9.5 mm silent
16 mm silent, double perforated

documentation Documentation
Manual Eumig C3m - PDF
Ditmar 2960 Projector
German, 1.10 Mb [pdf]

links Ditmar web links
links Michael Rogge
links List of vintage movie cameras, projectors, precinema, etc.

links WT - Pempel
links Company history  [German text]

links Wim van der Velden
links R. Ditmar, Gebrüder Brünner A.G. Company history.

links Roland Günter
links From "Ditmar to "Austria Email", company history.

links GM Giessmann
links Source for do-it-yourself (projector-) belts.
links It's easier to make those yourself than you might think.
Ditmar Dual Gauge

All photos copyright of M. Koning 1997 - 2005

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