Vtg Revere 8mm #119 Power Zoom Movie Camera w/Wollensak f/1.8 Rapter 9-30mm Lens

  • $49.95

Vintage Revere 8mm #119 Power Zoom Movie Camera w/Wollensak f/1.8 Rapter 9-30mm Lens


An amazing find for vintage camera & projector enthusiasts! The cameras are part of many items acquired from the Cairo Camera Shop.  Please check often as many more pieces will become available in the near future.This listing includes the following camera and case:


Vintage Revere Model 119 Power Zoom 8mm EYE-MATIC Magazine Movie Camera w/Revere 100% Grain Cowhide Adjustable Strapped Carrying Case that includes the Original Locking Key

The Model 119 was the last zoom lens camera in this series.  Prior cameras were spool load.  This model uses the newer 50 ft. magazine films that did not require treading which made loading much easier, faster and with a less chance of expos-ing the film. The wind works for filming and zooming or the option of manually zooming.  Wide angel is 9mm, normal is 13mm and the zoom is 30mm. The view-finder automatically adjusts to the lens.  As the lens setting is changed a smaller window in the viewfinder shows the f setting or it may be set, “eye-matic”, to au-tomatically set the exposure. There is an option to take single frames. It has a cool back hand strap.  The camera was made to make filming easy and foolproof.  The camera comes with the original lens cap and a Tiffin Photar #85 Series #6 filter.  Why not own a cool looking Zoom Camera today?


Cairo Camera Shop originally purchased directly and picked-up the camera at the Revere Factory offices in Chicago.  It was later taken back as a trade in for a newer camera from an avid movie taking customer after their Caribbean trip.


Approx. Dimensions: 

Camera: 6-3/4" L x 5-1/4" W x 3" D


Approx. Weight of Camera: 2 lb, 11 ozs 


Sold as is. No warranty. No Returns.


CONDITION NOTE: Used: The camera is in good condition given its age. The winder has some scrapes.  The inside film loading area is in mint condition. Not tested by filming and then developing the film but everything appears to work. The lens optics appear clean and clear with no scratches, chips, streaks, fungus, fog or haze that I can see (see pictures). The camera body shows some wear. The movie camera winds well. The filter is in mint condition.  The leather Revere carrying case has wear and some light spots but the stitching is all intact.  Please remember that they are older than many of us and have a loving history. The camera and filter do not come with their original boxes, original packaging, or any instruction manual. The camera will be carefully packed and insured for safe shipping. See detailed high resolution (zoom-able) pictures to know what you are purchasing.



A precursor to Revere, Excel Radiator Company was started in 1920 in Chicago by a Ukrainian immi-grant, Sam Brisken.  In 1939, they merged into a subsidiary of his son’s and became the Revere Camera Company.  The name came from the Revere Copper Company, which provided depression financial support to small manufacturers, like Excel Radiator.  Naturally, when they then started manufacturing 8mm cameras and projectors they adopted the copper like colored cameras.

By the 1950’s, it is the number two manufacturer of movie cameras in the US.  Later, to increase business, they took over Wollensak Optical.  Soon after, they introduced Wollensak camera models.  Although mechanically similar to the Revere models they had better lens but were, of course, more expensive.  Within a few short years, they were making tape recorders.  In 1960, the founder, before dying of cancer, sold the privately owned business to 3M for only $17 million dollars.

Revere also made and sold 16mm cameras and projectors including a 16mm sound projector.  Cairo Camera Shop was a Revere/Wollensak dealer.  Frank Cairo would often drive the 60 miles to the East 21 Street building, first occupied by Excel Radiator, to pick up equipment and leave equipment for re-pair.

HISTORY: Zoom Lens

The 1950’s brought many innovative bells and whistles to cameras like built in light meters that auto-matically adjusted the lens aperture and the Zoom lens.   The problem with early zoom lens was that they needed to be put in focus as each focal length.  This was solved when Clile Allen received a patent for his lens in 1902.  His zoom lens retained near sharp focus while the focal length of the assembly was changed.  For instance, in going from a 13mm wide angle view to 50mm telephoto each image is in clear focus.  The key was incorporating into the lens multiple lenses.  In 1927 it was used in a theater movie and in 1932 Bell and Howell introduced the Varo" 40–120 mm lens for 35mm movie cameras. 

BACKSTORY:  Frank G Cairo, Owner of the Cairo Camera Shop  

Frank Cairo moved from the Bronx, New York to Kenosha, WI in 1943.  The next year, after getting married, he acquired the neighborhood grocery store next door and made it into Cairo Camera Shop.  He operated the store for over fifty years until his death in 1997.

He loved cameras, projectors, movie stars and movies and was the photographer for the local auto workers union. He began collecting 8, 16 and 35mm films.  Eventually, Cairo Home Movies became the largest private film collection in Southern Wisconsin.  In addition to renting films and projectors, he would show movies at parties and events. In the summers, he had free outdoor movie nights for neighborhood kids. If you would like to see a 5 minute video about Frank Cairo and his camera shop as told by his son, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqCoUsiGfaA

Now, after 25 years, what is left of this well-kept collection of vintage camera and movie equipment and memorabilia is being sold.