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Towcester Cinema - Equipment
Towcester Cinema projection room equipmentTowcester Cinema projection room equipment
Kalee Vulcan carbon arc mechanismKalee Vulcan carbon arc mechanism
Kalee 11 projector photographKalee 11 projector photograph
Kalee 11 projector drawingKalee 11 projector drawing
When it first opened the Towcester Cinema projection box was equipped with Kalee Regal cinema projectors fitted with Vulcan carbon arc lamps. [note added 8.4.12. Until recently it was thought that the arc lamps were Kalee "Dragon" arcs] The sound system was British Acoustic, one of about eight different systems which had been developed in Europe and the USA following the introduction of "talkies".

After a considerable search by Ken Draper of the Projected Picture Trust at Bletchley Park we located a Dragon still in operation at the Electric Palace Cinema, Harwich.

Ken also sparked up a carbon arc projector so we could show this intense light source in operation. In the early 1950s the Kalee Dragons were replaced by Kalee 12s, but were still fitted with carbon arc lamps.

The name Kalee came from the original designer of British cinema projectors and cameras - Abram Kershaw. The first company he designed for, the New Centurion Company, would not let him put his name on their equipment but agree he could use his reversed initials followed by the first three letters of Leeds where his works were, hence KALEE.

The company was renowned throughout the film industry for the quality of all its cinema projection products and, during wartime, their additional output included cameras, binoculars and gun-laying range finders.
The photographs of the projection room equipment is from the Tyrrell archive, Towcester. The drawing of the Kalee projector is from the National Media Museum, Bradford, West Yorkshire. The other photographs are by Martin Winterton.
The author wishes to thank the following for their assistance
  1. Ken Draper, Projected Picture Trust, Bletchley Park, Bucks
  2. Electric Palace, Harwich
  3. Toni Booth, National Media Museum, Bradford, West Yorkshire.
  4. Paul French, Ron Grant and Martin Humphries at the Cinema Museum and Ron Grant Archive, London.
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