roll your own

Bulk Loaders for 35mm film

Toronto. When film and 35mm cameras were all the rage, a significant savings could be realized by buying bulk 25, 50, or 100 foot rolls of 35mm film, In the darkroom, the film roll was placed in a light tight bulk loader. You could save even more by getting slightly out of date bulk film rolls at a war surplus store like the old Hercules store on Young Street around Wellesley (or was it nearer to Bloor?).

You could buy new empty 35mm cassettes, or use specially made ones like the all brass Leica version (at the end of life, new Leica brass cassettes cost $100)! Or if you were down right frugal, save or scrounge good empty cassettes and reload them.

Some companies, like Ansco, even sold kits of film and cassettes so you could save a few dollars and roll your own. The Ansco colour kits had the film trimmed to fit the cassette every 36 exposures plus leader. Leica sold film leader templates and third party templates could be bought at many camera stores. But most people (like me) just trimmed leaders by hand.

Did you know the long leader used on commercial film cassettes was a nod to the screw-mount Leicas? The Leica camera bottom was removed for loading and the leader had to be slipped between the pressure plate and the shutter and dropped into the take-up roller. In some cameras such as the Exakta, a blank cassette could be used in place of the take-up roller so you could wind the exposed film directly into a cassette. Exaktas even had a built-in knife. Leica sold a knife as a separate accessory (ABCOO).

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