Play Your Old Movies and Films With Vintage Projectors and Screens

If you have boxes of vintage film footage that you want to watch, you will need a film projector that can play these older film formats. Fortunately, you can find many vintage projectors for sale on eBay that can play all manner of film formats.

Which film formats can you use with vintage projectors?

Film formats are designated by the gauge of their widths. These are the common types of old projectors you will see for sale on eBay:

  • 16-millimetre film projectors – These projectors run 16-millimetre film, which was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1923 as a less expensive alternative to 35-millimetre film. This original 16-millimetre film used acetate safety film as a base. The 16-millimetre projectors are either silent or sound projectors.
  • 8-millimetre film projectors - These play 8-millimetre film. There are two main versions of 8-millimetre film: standard 8-millimetre, which is known as regular 8-millimetre, and Super 8. Both have the same gauge of 8 millimetres, but Super 8 has a larger image because of smaller, widely spaced perforations on the film. A regular 8-millimetre projector will not play Super 8 film.
  • Super 8 film projector - A Super 8 film projector will play Super 8 film but will not play regular 8-millimetre film.
  • DUAL 8 projector - A DUAL 8 will play both Super 8 and Regular 8 movie film.
  • 35-millimetre slide projector - The 35-millimetre slides are small, positive pieces of film that are 2-inch squares enclosed by cardboard or plastic. You use 35-millimetre slide projectors to play each slide in order onto a screen.
  • 35-millimetre film projector - Most 35-millimetre film projectors are designed to play 35-millimetre film in a theatre setting.
Classes of vintage projectors

Film projectors are classified as to type. Toy projectors were made in the 1930s and 1940s, and they were mostly used with silent shorts and cartoons. They were produced by companies like Kodak, Excel, and Keystone.

Silent projectors were made for users who did not need to project sound movies. Many of these models had the same basic technical specifications as their sound counterparts from the same company. These silent projectors can typically play 400-foot reels.

Vintage sound projectors include those using conventional tubular lamps, vacuum tube (valve) amplifiers, and manual threading. The sound from these projectors is not as bright as what newer models produce. These classic sound projectors usually have the capacity for 2,000-foot reels.

Well-known brands of vintage film projectors

Many companies produced film projectors that could run the common film formats of the day. Some of the more well-known brands are:

  • Bell and Howell
  • Imperial
  • Keystone
  • Kodak
  • Minolta
  • Nikon
  • Polaroid
  • Revere
  • Sankyo
  • Specto