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A 1916 Simplex standard.

The Simplex line of projectors was one of the most popular American brands from the silent era until the transition to digital projection. Simplex products include projector heads, soundheads, sound systems, pedestals, rewinds, changeover units, and other components.

Simplex projectors were originally manufactured by the Precision Machine Company. Over the course of a series of mergers and consolidations, the Simplex line was manufactured by the International Projector Corporation, General Precision, Inc., National Theater Supply (then a subsidiary of National Screen Service), and Strong International (then a subsidiary of Ballantyne of Omaha).

The longstanding slogan for Simplex projectors was, "Better projection pays!"

The Wenzel and Kaplan brands were clones of the Simplex mechanism.

Simplex Equipment

Cinema Projectors

  • Simplex (referred to as the “Simplex standard” to differentiate it from other models)
  • Super Simplex
  • Simplex E-7
  • Simplex X-L
  • Simplex 35 - A rebranded version of the X-L. Later models could be installed with a Simplex-branded or Ballantyne-branded lens turret.
  • Simplex 35/70 - A version of the X-L adapted for dual format 35mm/70mm use.
  • Simplex Millennium - A major departure from the X-L line. Uses a lens turret and aperture changer. Borrowed some elements from the Century design (then owned by the same parent company), including an intermittent pad show that is detached from the gate.
  • Simplex Apogee - Incorporated sound readers on the picture head. Also uses a lens turret and aperture changer.

Portable Projectors

  • Simplex Acme
  • Simplex SP

Optical Soundheads

  • Simplex SH-1000 (4-Star; more often referred to by its part number colloquially and in manuals)
  • Simplex X-L soundheads (a few models were offered; updates on the SH-1000 with an added compartment to hold a preamp below the exciter lamp)
  • Simplex 5 Star (replaced the gearbox of the SH-1000 and X-L soundheads with a belt drive system to eliminate the need for lubrication)

Magnetic Soundheads

  • Simplex X-L magnetic soundhead (35mm 4-track mag)
  • Simplex 35/70 magnetic soundhead (35mm 4-track mag and 70mm 6-track mag)


  • Three-point base
  • Five-point base
  • Steady stand (a version of the five-point base with an additional rear support for the lamphouse)
  • LL-1 (“heavy duty”; has an adjustment for lateral alignment; first version with internal wiring)
  • LL-2
  • LL-3 (enclosed base with internal wiring)