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GNOME ALPHAX MAJOR SLIDE PROJECTOR, 1970's
Photographic slide projector for single slides, two and one quarter inch square.
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- I note one of your contributors says bulbs are still available for this projector. I wonder where?
.......... John Rattenbury, Haverfordwest Wales UK, 2nd of March 2015
- I bought a Gnome Alphax Major (IQ bulb) projector and two lenses in late 1968. At over £30 it represented about two weeksí wages. A carrying case was available as an extra but this was a disappointment as it was a flimsy platform to support the projector that a plastic-covered lightweight hardwood hood clipped over. There was no extra space or allowance for stowing lenses, bulbs, and cable extensions. The projector was designed for functionality with no sophistication for ease of use as one gets in the much more expensive Rollei.
I was told that the lenses were equal to those supplied with the Rollei projector of the same specification and I can believe it as they were sharp. It performed well but after about ten years I compared it with a friendís Kodak Carousel 35mm. projector and the Carousel gave a better picture. The Carouselís picture was brighter, but then the condensers were made to only cover the 35mm. frame. Ideally the Alphax Major should have had either a separate set of condensers or the facility to move the condensers to just cover a 35mm. frame when this facility was needed. This would, of course, have added substantially to the cost and complexity of the projector.
I also noticed that the slides projected by my friendís Carousel looked cleaner. In comparison, the Gnome projector gave a slightly magenta cast, not noticeable until two projectors were run alongside each other. The Carousel had a distinctly greenish heat absorbing filter and this was no doubt the cause. I can only surmise that an IQ bulb has a magenta bias.
After about 30 years, one of the spherical condensers cracked spontaneously. I telephoned Gnome for a replacement and was told that none was available but the projector would function adequately if I just removed and discarded the cracked condenser. So much for design and pride in oneís products!
Upon examining it the other day, I tried to remove the cracked condenser before giving the projector to a friend. With a startling noise, the heat absorbing filter disintegrated into thousands of pieces of glass! I can only assume that these components must be very stressed. I notice that the Gnome Alphax Major projector frequently comes up on eBay for less than £40 (about what I paid for it in the late 1960s!) but the cost of carriage adds almost half as much again.
.......... Robert Sylvester, Askam-in-Furness, 7th of December 2011
- My father passed one of these to me.. He always used to tell me that it belongs to a museum! It works perfectly fine after so many years. The only problem is one of the glass elements nearest to the lamp has cracked in half. This shows a bit when projecting slides but other than that, it's great! The lens on it is ISCO - GOTTINGEN PROJAR 3,5/150. And I found out it's quite valuable and excellent optically. So projecting medium format slides on this gem is a marvel to watch!
Anybody have any ideas where I can get a replacement for the cracked glass? I guess not..
By the way, the 150W lamp is really easy to replace.
.......... Isidoros Pirounidis, Athens, Greece, 20th of October 2011
- I have one of these and bulbs are still available.
.......... alex phillips, london, 22nd of March 2011
- I still have one of these projectors, which belonged to my Dad. He used to go out giving slide shows to local clubs in St Albans and the area in the 60's. It doesn't work now because the lamp (300w, 250v) is blown and is no longer available, and I haven't used it for years. Until now, that is ! I am in an Amateur Dramatics group in Gamlingay, Cambs. and I currently have a part in the play "Out of Focus" by Peter Gordon. It is a comedy about a number of people who are all double-booked into a Village Hall on the same evening.
My part is that of a rather "anorak - like" bloke who goes around on his bike giving talks with slides on subjects such as steam locomotives (usually to un-appreciative audiences !) So of course, the Gnome Alphax is just what's needed, and will be appearing on stage as a "prop." Although the audience does not see the actual projected images, the projector has to look as though it is working, so I will have to put some kind of lamp inside it to do the job. I might use a domestic halogen lamp if it will fit inside. The fan still works ok.
I don't want to give the impression that my Dad was exactly like this character (he used to go about by car, not a bike, and his pictures were never Out of Focus), but there's another coincidence - the character's name in the play is Leonard. And that was my Dad's name - Leonard Aubrey Carroll. Weird, eh ?
.......... Colin Carroll, Langford, Bedfordshire., 31st of October 2009