16mm Gun Camera N-6A

Astronomy

Accession Number: 2019.ast.127 (DAA-0073)

Description:

This object is a rectangular box-shaped motion picture camera, with a small cylindrical lens assembly protruding from one end. There are several attachments across the camera: on its base there are four screw feet with bolts attached, permitting the camera to be attached to a piece of equipment. There is a male four-pin connector on one side. On the top of the camera, there are a number of metal labels giving the cameras specifications, its affiliation with the US Navy, and indicating a factory repair. Also on the top there is a small knurled knob that adjusts a scale visible through a small window, and a another knob that turns a round switch between settings reading 16, 32 and 64.

At the back of the camera there is a bracket that holds the door to the interior of the camera closed. There is no film in the camera.

The 35mm lens assembly consists of a small cylinder attached with three heavy bolts to the body of the camera on a circular base. The lens is covered by a yellow filter.

Alternative Name: Gun Sight Aiming Point Camera

Primary Materials: Metal: Iron Alloy, Glass

Markings:

On the largest metal label: “U.S. NAVY -BU. OF ORD.
GUN CAMERA 16m/m
VOLTS 24 AN TYPE N-6A
WT. 2.75 LBS SERIAL NO. 55414
MADE BY
BELL & HOWELL CO.
CHICAGO, ILL”

On another metal label:
“SET INDICATOR AT INDEX FOR DESIRED SPEED
DO NOT CHANGE SPEED WHEN CAMERA IS RUNNING”

On another metal label: “FACTORY REPAIRED
BY
FAIRCHILD
CAMERA AND INSTRUMENT CORP.”

Written in red pencil or pen on the top of the camera: “2” [or “Z”]

Around the lens assembly: “LENS ASSEMBLY
35M.M. F/3.5
SPECIFICATION NO. 75-361
SERIAL NO. 517560
ORDER NO. W-33-038-ac-3886
MFR’S DRG. No. SP-0816
????? HOWELL CO.”

In a small circular stamp on the base:
“FCI
244”

Dimensions (cm): Length = 18, Width = 8.1, Height = 8.7

Function:

This camera was designed to take an automatically triggered moving picture record of gunnery fire, especially from aircraft, in order to improve targeting and record results. This a model that was standard in by the US armed forces by the end of WWII and during the Korean War. Its use in an astronomical context is unknown.

Condition:

Very Good: Paint is worn off the exposed edges (i.e. edges of labels, corners, and connections between plates) of the object. There are also scrapes around the lens assembly. The yellow filter on the lens assembly is clouded in places.

Manufacturer: Bell & Howell

Date of Manufacture: c. 1945

Provenance:

This object was likely moved from the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill in 2008, upon the sale of the observatory. It was stored at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics until 2017, when it was moved to a new storage location in McLennan Physical Laboratories.

Additional Information and References:

More information about gun sight cameras of this type can be found at AerobirdAntique.com