Bare Bones Pekoscope 16mm Projector From 1932
This diminutive Pekoscope 16mm projector was made right in Chicago back in 1932, back when we knew how to make more than just backroom deals about the city's parking meters. It's such a simple system, there's good potential that it still works, though I'm terrified to try. Why? Lots of exposed moving parts, and a pair of cloth covered power cords to juice the lamp and external motor.
I couldn't find much about the Pekoscope on the internet besides the likely date of manufacture. From looking at it, I think that you could have bought it unmotorized. A crank with some sort of flywheel action moves the sole sprocketed roller. It also moves a grooved wheel in the back that's attached by a spring-belt to the take up reel. Another belt attached to the top reel for rewinding in some way I haven't exactly quite worked out yet.
After you've put on enough backyard kiddie shows, perhaps you'd have enough cash to get the external motor. Looking like a mini dynamo, this bolts onto the base driving the various external belts. The arms for the reels also are removable. Perhaps this was for easier storage or upgrade to the playback of larger reels (imagine cranking through 200 feet of film by hand going too slowly and letting it burn!).
All in all this is one of the simplest projectors I've ever come across, making me wonder if it was intended as a kiddie unit. It's well built, and would have been an expensive item even if made for children, but the simplified construction as well as the hand cranking makes me wonder. With so many children's favorites available as cut down 50 foot shorts in toy & hobby stores back then, I wouldn't be surprised. Whomever it was intended for, the projector has the potential to be a real film scratching monster – there's not a very good load path for the film. Let's hope that the 50 foot reel that came threaded on this particular Pekoscope doesn't have missing footage from Metropolis on it...