I'm a small publisher (part-time): The Projection Box,
publishing monographs (original research and facsimiles)
on pre-cinema, early film, and optical entertainments. If
I mention my own publications in my messages forgive me =
it isn't a commercial plug = our booklets don't make a
The MiniCine Toy Projector.
Arguably 'The Best Toy Projector Ever Made' (my
description!). The MiniCine was sold in Britain by Martin
Lucas Ltd., from addresses in Balham, South London, and
Hollingwood, Lancashire. It was introduced around 1949/50,
and seems to have disappeared about 1958.
It was advertised in various publications, from the
Film User handbook to Eagle comic. There were two basic
models in metal, one for use with a transformer, and one
that was larger and took batteries in the base.
The magic of the MiniCine was that it could give a
five minute movie show with just one foot of 35mm film. It
achieved this with an ingenious mechanism that moved the
filmstrip up and down intermittently, stopping it in four
positions. There were four rows of pictures on the strip
(animated cartoon drawings), and the sequence was designed
to give a repeat cyclic motion.
(drawings 1,2,3,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,3,2,1 etc).
At the same time that the strip was moving up and
down, it was also moved gradually along, so new parts of
the strip came into view (a sort of motion picture
panorama). All strip drawings, even those based on Disney
licensed characters, were specially drawn for the system.
The result was (and is = I've got four of them, and sixty
strips) rather wonderful.
A particularly effective sequence is Bambi's escape
from the forest fire. Not all strips were 'movie,' some
were sequences of still pictures (including educational
There was also a MiniCine (Disney model) projector
sold in the USA. I have a photograph of one but no further
details. It had a plastic body.
Not really an entirely dead medium, as I used one to
give a show at a friend's wedding party last month. I do
not know of any published information on the MiniCine,
apart from a technical paper that I wrote and distributed
about 10 years ago.
Stephen Herbert (firstname.lastname@example.org)