Thursday, June 21, 2007


I'm a big fan of mid-century modern design. I mean they had some pretty terrible politics back then, but what a sense of style. And even though the thrift stores are full of the tacky, wacky, and creepy, and that's usually what I post on (can you blame me?), I just gotta share something cool I saw last month.

This Bell & Howell has got to be the swellest (sorry to slip into the 50s slang) slide projector ever made. At first I thought it was a portable turntable, with that checkered grille and big handle.

It even had this cool light gun/wand thingy to change from slide to slide. And it worked! You know that beautiful moment when you plug a piece of machinery in that's older than your uncle and you hear that hum of a well-oiled fan and that smell of burning dust. Oh, it's utter joy , I tell you.

And it got even more boss, because someone handmade this wooden carrying case for dozens of slide reels (no slides of the family trip to the Grand Canyon, though).

Look closely at the bottom shelf and you'll see someone outfit it with 1950's pink shag carpeting to protect the projector. Which is why the Bell and Howell looks like it just came out of Ozzie and Harriet's closet. American ingenuity at it's finest.

And (drum roll please), they only wanted seven bucks for the whole set up. Here's the kicker. I didn't buy it. I know, I know. Running out of room, was about to move, and I don't exactly have slides falling out of my ears.

But, a few days after I took these pictures, I went back to that thrift store, y'know, just too see if it was there. Okay, I probably would have bought it if I saw it. But i didn't. Which leads to the first rule of thrift stores: If you like it buy it, because it won't be there tomorrow.


Jenny said...

Bad call on the slide projector. Shame, shame.

As an aside, I tried to take a picture of Grey the other day for your blog. He was a gun-toting baby, lol. Picked up Cameron's pop gun and was walking down the hallway looking tough... of course, I thought of you. ;)

eniksleestack said...

Greyson as "Ditry Harry"?

I wish I had a dime for every totally un-supervised toddler brandishing a wiffle ball bat, or a toy lawnmower, or perhaps a rusted pair of garden shears as weapon in a thrift store aisle.

Oh, they're wonderful places though. just had some adventures in exotic Oxnard. I will blog them soon.

Dennis said...

Yeah, of course you put up one about a beautiful slide projector after I spent a month on ebay trying to buy a slide projector. I did buy one but it cost a bunch more than 7 dollars. Just for that I'm going to take nothing but slides of the wedding!

eniksleestack said...

Dennis said: of course you put up one about a beautiful slide projector after I spent a month on ebay trying to buy a slide projector

Sorry, but I guess it makes up for a certain 50s vintage pole lamp that I bough for 5 buck that mysteriously got crushed. :)

Slides of the wedding are fine, as long as I'm not in any.

Jenny said...

"I wish I had a dime for every totally un-supervised toddler brandishing a wiffle ball bat, or a toy lawnmower, or perhaps a rusted pair of garden shears as weapon in a thrift store aisle."

It's actually light sabers and screw drivers (used for taking apart stubborn LEGO creations) here. Sad times, I tell ya. See you next week?

Darmel said...

I have one of these projectors complete with about ten slide trays and the manual.
Anybody want to buy it?

ffmedic4payson said...

My husband was organizing the garage and came across my Dad's Bell & Howell Explorer 754, and slides. No kidding, what you describe is true, the smell the sound.....and it actually worked after 30 years of never being used!!!!! My teenagers were so impressed by the history in those slides, and you can still get the bulbs for it. Should have bought it when you saw it!!!!!

SurfnWally said...

3 Years late to the party, but I have to agree... It is the coolest slide projector ever.

It's a Bell & Howell 754. I have my father's that he bought new back in the '50s. I grew up with this relic, cursing its outdated design to the modern carousels that my friends all had. I have grown up now, and can finally appreciate its beautiful design.

Mine is black, and I have a dozen or so of those rectangular slide trays with all of the slide mounts filled with Kodachrome positives of L.A. in the '50s that my dad shot with his 1947 Leica. My dad's Leica camera and B&H projector now sit on display in my living room atop a Herman Miller (George Nelson) cabinet surrounded by Charles Eames chairs. What can I say... we're having a '50s revival at my place.

My projector also has a strange round plug that I could never figure out a purpose for until I ran across this web page and saw the optical attachment. Ours never had it, but I will begin looking for one now.


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