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Author Topic: Spooling On/Off Plate
Maurice Leakey
Film God

Posts: 5895
From: Bristol. United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2007

 - posted February 12, 2014 04:59 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Recent comments about split spools reminds me of their scarcity, and if available, their high price. When my cinema closed for ever in 1994 I took home a memento. A spooling on/off plate.

For those who do not know what this is (particularly projectionists in the US who have no need for such an item) it is a circular metal disc with a suitable locating hole to fit on the cinema's rewinder. On its far side it is polished and shiny so as not to damage film. Usually part of the kit is a flat film retaining bar about an inch across which is mounted on the rewind and lies flat when not in use. For operation it is moved to a vertical position, pushed forward against its spring and brought back onto the rewinder's spindle through a hole in the bar.

In British cinemas films were delivered in cans and mounted on a core. This was because there was no standard for the diameter of a projector's spool spindles. It was therefore necessary to use the spooling on/off plate which accepted the cores and by use of the retaining bar which ensured that the film was safely held in position.

See my link to a similar plate made by Rigby which is actually a horizontal rewinder but you can clearly see the circular plate which in earlier days was a separate extra item for the existing rewinder.


The plate which I "acquired" was modified for me by a friend. The circular hole was enlarged to a square hole which fits my old Premier 16mm rewinder. Film is held in position by the forefinger of the left hand.

Now that cinemas have gone digital I suspect that many of these plates have been kept as an item of nostalgia. It was usual to hang them on the wall in the rewind room attached to a suitable nail when not in use.

Why not enquire at your local cinema to see if you can acquire one?


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Dino Everette
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1535
From: Long Beach, CA USA
Registered: Dec 2008

 - posted February 12, 2014 11:41 AM      Profile for Dino Everette   Email Dino Everette   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If anyone is looking for a 16mm split reel let me know as I have many, many of them..

"You're too Far Out Miss Lawrence"

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Michael O'Regan
Film God

Posts: 3085
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Oct 2007

 - posted February 12, 2014 02:57 PM      Profile for Michael O'Regan   Email Michael O'Regan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

I have seen those plates over the years. When I worked in the cinema in Cork we used a Westrex Tower as I think we've discussed before. Making up and breaking down, we used a normal split reel.

Regarding Dino's offer,

well worth thinking about folks. Though 16mm splits are not exactly rare, good ones of 1600ft and over can be quite expensive. I've found mine invaluable, especially when getting prints shipped from the US. Leaving those reels out and using cores reduces the shipping cost.

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