F. and S. Marriott 140 Newbegin, Hornsea, England, HU18 1PB

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Bell and Howell Autoload II Model 266 Cine Projector Instructions (with pictures)

Setting Up


If you Lose the Loop




Automatic Loop Setter

Speed Control

Slow Motion

Still Picture and Reverse Projection



Cleaning the Aperture and Film Channel

Cleaning the Lens

Lamp Replacement

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From a UK catalogue of 1963, talking about the Bell and Howell Autoload II - "The light source is a revolutionary new lamp, a 21.5 volt 150 watt Dichroic which incorporates a heat filtering device. This has enabled Bell and Howell to provide the Autoload II with a switch for slow-motion projection without the slightest risk of damaging the film due to overheating.
"Also included are: automatic self-threading mechanism; newly designed 17 mm. to 27 mm. zoom lens; forward, reverse and still picture control; fine focus control; high-speed film rewind; variable speed control; gear-driven spool shafts, 400 ft. capacity; quick action tilt control; self-lubricating mechanism; 200-250 volt A.C. operation.

"Complete with self-contained carrying case in charcoal and silver finish £49 18s. 6d."

Parts of the Bell & Howell 266
Setting up the Bell & Howell 266

Setting Up

Place the projector on a suitable firm table or stand. To open, simply press down the small button on top of the case and tip the cover off, as illustrated (top).

Remove the reel from the slot in the projector carton and unwind the power supply cable.

(I have omitted the instructions on how to connect a plug)

Before connection to the mains supply, check to see that the voltage switch is correctly set to correspond with the voltage in use. To gain access to the Voltage Switch remove the Lamphouse Cover (13) by grasping firmly and pulling away from the internal spring clip which secures it to the body of the projector.

Note: Before switching on make certain that you replace the Lamphouse Cover. Once the required voltage has been set, further adjustment will be unnecessary unless the projector is used in a location with a different supply voltage.

Loading feed reel on Bell and Howell 266

Extend the Feed and Take-up Reel arms by swinging them upwards until they snap into the open position (after you've completed a show, fold the arms down by applying pressure).

Locate the empty reel on the Take-up Reel (1) arm spindle.

Note: The reel will only engage the spindle from one side and must be positioned with the centre slots facing the reel arm.

Locate the full reel on the Feed Reel (2) arm spindle. The film should lead off the reel in a clockwise direction with the perforations towards the operator.


Trimming film for Bell and Howell 266

If your film is being used for the first time or has a ragged end, square off the leader end in the Film Trimmer (14) on the base of the projector. Unwind sufficient film to reach the trimmer making sure that it lies evenly between the side lays provided, until the ragged or damaged end of the film is beyond the trimmer blade. Locate a perforation over the pin provided and trim off, as illustrated.

Important: Make sure that the full reel of film is firmly located on the Feed Reel arm spindle before threading.

Threading the Bell and Howell 266

To thread the film into the projector, insert the trimmed end into the threading slot (4) but remember first to press down the Upper Loop Former (3), otherwise if the loop formers are left open the film will only thread as far as the first sprocket. Now move the Direction Lever (5) to 'Forward' and Control Switch (8) to 'Motor' - and the projector will automatically thread the film.

Bell and Howell 266 film path

Allow about 2 feet of film to run through the projector. Pass the film under the Front Guide Roller (10), under the Rear Guide Roller (12), and up to the Take-up Reel, then turn the Control Switch off.

Note: As you pass the film under the Front Guide Roller move the roller to the left, thus releasing the loop formers.

Take-up reel on Bell and Howell 266

Insert the end of the film into the slot of the Take-up Reel then turn clockwise to take up slack film.

Note: Once you have mastered the simple instructions above, you will be able to completely thread your projector and engage the film in the Take-up Reel, without stopping the mechanism. As you do this, film tension on the Front Guide Roller will automatically release the loop formers.

Poor splices, B&H 266 instructions

Before inserting into the automatic Threading Slot (4), ensure that any creases or ragged edges on the end of the film are suarely trimmed off by means of the Film Trimmer attached to the projector base. Check the threading path to see that it is clean and free from pieces of film or accumulated foreign matter which could affect the performance of the projector.

It is also recommended that the reel containing the film be closely examined. A bent or otherwise damaged reel is a potential source of trouble.

If your projector loses its loop

A poorly spliced or damaged film can result in the loss of film loop which is indicated by a pronounced clicking sound at the lens gate associated with picture flutter on the screen. To automatically restore the loop, press down the Upper Loop Former (3) and immediately release. Should this operation fail to restore the loop, it will be necessary to re-form it manually as follows:

Open the lens gate and carefully lift out the film from the bottom sprocket. Push back the film, forming a loop to the approximate size shown in the illustration above and engage on the sprocket teeth, making certain that the section of film causing difficulty has cleared the projector.

As soon as possible cut out the poor splice or damaged section and re-join the film using a film splicer. The drawings above show how you can identify torn or poorly spliced film.

In certain cases, violent movement of the Framing Control (11) may cause loss of film loop. This control should be moved slowly when framing is necessary.


Set up your screen and turn the Control Switch (8) to 'Lamp' position. Move the Direction Lever (5) to 'Forward' and run through the blank leader strip of the film. Return the Direction Lever to 'Still', turn off the room lights and centralise the picture on the screen by turning the projector slightly from side to side and operating the Tilt Control Knob (9).

Operating the Bell and Howell 266 tilt knob

Slacken this knob by turning in an anti-clockwise direction until it releases the foot. Lift the front of the projector until the desired angle is reached and re-tighten the knob.

If by chance the film has stopped in a position where you do not get a picture projected or your picture is partially blocked, turn the Single Frame Knob (17) slowly; this is located immediately above the Tilt Control Knob.


If the picture is cut off at top or bottom, turn the Framing Control (11) in either direction until the complete picture is correctly framed on the screen.


Focussing the Bell and Howell 266

Your projector is equipped with Filmovara lens. The Filmovara lens is variable in focal length between 17 mm. and 27 mm. and, operating on the 'Zoom' principle, enables you to adjust the size of the projected picture within reasonable limits to match the screen size, without having to move the projector or screen. To operate the Filmovara lens, rotate the knurled section of the lens mount to get approximate picture size, then focus by rotating the front section until the picture is sharply defined. It is possible to manipulate both sections simultaneously with a little practice.

Bell and Howell 266 - picture dimensions table

Automatic Loop Setter

If your film has a torn perforation or a poor splice, it may cause your projector to lose its loop. When this happens you will hear a noticeable clicking sound and your picture will flutter on the screen.

Simply press down the Upper Loop Former and immediately release, this will automatically reset the loop without stopping the projector or interrupting your show.

Speed Control

When first setting your projector it may be necessary to adjust the speed to eliminate flutter on the screen. To increase speed turn the Variable Speed Control in the direction of the arrow. To decrease speed turn the Control in the opposite direction.

Important. Do not adjust the Variable Speed Control unless the projector is running and the Direction Lever is either in 'Forward' or 'Reverse'.

S-L-O-W Motion

To add interest and variety to your movies, your projector features Automatic Slow Motion. To operate at slow motion speed, move the Slow Motion Control (16) to the 'Slow Motion' position while operating in the forward direction. The Slow Motion feature is only operative when the Direction Lever is set for Forward operation.

Note - if the picture flickers on the screen, adjustment of the Variable Speed Control may be necessary.

Bell and Howell 266 variable speed control

Still Picture and Reverse Projection

To stop the film so that a still picture can be projected - push the Direction Lever (5) to 'Still'. If you don't get a picture on the screen or your picture is partially blocked, turn the Single Frame Knob (15) slowly. When projecting still pictures a safety shutter automatically drops into place to protect your film from the heat of the projection lamp. Should you wish to reverse action for special effects or to re-view a scene, just switch the Direction Lever to 'Reverse'.


As the last of your film passes through the projector, turn the control switch to 'Off'. Then to rewind, leave both reels in position and connect the film from the take-up reel straight across to the feed reel. Secure the film end n the slot of the feed reel hub and turn in an anti-clockwise direction to take up slack film. Set the Direction Lever to 'Reverse' and the Control Switch to 'Motor'. After the film is completely rewound, switch the Direction Lever to 'Still' in readiness for your next show.


Your projector is lubricated at the factory and requires no further oiling. We recommend that it be cleaned and adjusted periodically by one of our approved service stations (as far as I know, no longer available).

Cleaning the Aperture and Film Channel

Swing the lens gate out before each showing. With a small brush or piece of cloth gently wipe the aperture and film channel. A rubber ear syringe will be found useful to remove dust or dirt which may accumulate in the upper or lower film guides.

Cleaning the Lens

Removing the lens on the Bell and Howell 266

To remove the lens simply grasp the lens mount and pull it out with a twisting motion. Clean the front and rear elements with lens tissue or clean chamois, being careful not to exert too much pressure.

Replace lens by inserting the mount in the lens carrier and pushing it home with a twisting motion.

Lamp Replacement

Firmly grasp the Lamphouse Cover and pull away from the projector to expose the used lamp. If necessary, run the projector motor until the lamp is cool enough for comfortable handling.

To remove the lamp, grasp the top with your fingers and pull out. To insert a new lamp, align the centre guide pin at the lamp base with the socket within the lamphouse, rotating the lamp as necessary to ensure correct location, before pressing fully into the socket.

After insertion of the new lamp, immediately replace the Lamphouse Cover by sliding it over the guides and firmly pressing towards the projector body until it clips into position.

Remember . . . never switch on the projector lamp unless the lamphouse cover is in place.

Important: Take particular care when inserting a new lamp in the projector to avoid damaging the lamp pins.

Your projector uses the 'Tru-Flector' lamp rated at 21.5 volts, 150 watts.

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