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Nancy and Obed Sheffer movie projector

 Collection — Object: Movie projector
Identifier: RITDSA-0072

Scope and Contents

This movie projector belonged to Nancy and Obed Scheffer and was used to show captioned films to the Rochester Deaf community at their home and occasionally in public spaces.

Bell and Howell movie projector model #1585. Specifications include:

  • Make: Bell & Howell

  • Model: 1585

  • Lamp/Bulb:EMM or EKS

  • Exciter lamp:BAK

  • Threading: Self-Threading

  • Reel Size: 400 to 2000 feet

  • Speed: 24 frames/second

  • Lens: 2.0", F1.4 Filmouara Zoom

  • Amplifier: 20 watt output

  • Speaker:Built in 4" X 6"

  • Weight: 33 lbs

  • Dimensions: W 14 1/2"; H 16"; D 10 1/2"


  • Creation: 1976

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

In 1958, Congress passed a bill authorizing the establishment of Captioned Films for the Deaf, an agency under the United States Office of Education, Department of Health and Welfare. The agency still continues today as Media for the Handicapped, to expand the frontiers of film services for the deaf.

The following note was written by donors Nancy and Obed Sheffer:

During the rise of the movies, most deaf people enjoyed watching except that they had to speculate or imagine throughout the show sometimes correctly. As for the TV shows, weekly TV Guide was our source to program synopses before we watched TV shows but we did not have access to full dialogues, for example.

With the support from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, open-captioned films were available. We had the opportunity to subscribe captioned films from Captioned Films for the Deaf (Captioned Media Program) weekly.

Our at-home "club" Happy Hour hosted a movie night either on Friday or Saturday night for our local Deaf Friends through the year except for summer months. There were times where we showed films at a larger facility. My husband and I ran the event for about four or five years.

We selected films to view a month in advance. The film program was free of charge where we would watch the film over the weekend and return it by Monday in order to get a nother one by Friday.

It impacted so many Deaf people. They were able to fully appreciate the movies and the television shows. It was a wonderful social gathering during the time where teletypewriters were emerging to connect with other Deaf members of the community.

Now that most of the movies and TV shows are closed-captioned, Captioned Films (in 16mm) were no longer needed.

We appreciate the technological advancements ever since the Captioned Film days.

July 13, 2012


1 Item(s)




The collection consists of one Bell and Howell movie projector model #1585 used to view captioned films by members of the Rochester area Deaf community.


Collection is a single item.

Physical Location

C.S. Mid-range, Shelf 336

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated in June 2012 to the RIT Archive Collections by Nancy and Obed Scheffer, parents of RIT staff member Jeanne Behm. Accession number(s): Acc. 2012:015

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in June 2012.


Nancy and Obed Sheffer movie projector
RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive
Jody Sidlauskas
26 June 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA