Bolex Product Code:- ????
Well this is one of the weirdest Bolex accessories I've ever had to write about. For a while I had thought I had come across everything Bolex related until I heard about this item from somebody in America appropriately. It is in essence a handgrip shaped like a shotgun! But instead of firing bullets it fires the H16's front camera release. Phew!
For a while it seemed like the consensus was that this was some American camera accessory companies' bright idea of attempting to cash in on the Bolex's popularity at the time (circa early 1950s). But then in early 2002 a number of these rare items came up for auction on ebay and ever rarer still one had its original box intact which proudly displayed the Paillard family shield. This normally gets put on all Paillard Bolex packaging of the period which means Bolex Produced it themselves.
I further found an advent for it in an old issue of Bolex Reporter which further proved that it was an original Bolex product. I have now seen about three versions of it. So it seems Bolex were trying to improve the design of even this product throughout production.
The First Version was designed by a Dr Andras Laszlo who first thought of the idea of putting a Bolex camera on a Gunstock. Dr Andras Laszlo was according to one issue of Bolex reporter "The internationally known sportsman and big game hunter". In essence he would be sent on expeditions to the furthest corners of the globe for museums such as the Peabody and would bag whatever animal they felt were missing from there collections and bring it back home.
He was also interested in photography and would be asked to record his expeditions for posterity. I have a vision of a guy shooting animals with his Bolex in a gunstock and then putting it down to pick up a real gun to blow it to bits. Ho Ho. This gunstock has a pistol type grip to hold the handgrip and pull the trigger and another piece of wood which has a bell type end to hold it with your left hand. Bolex referred to this item as being designed by Laszlo (but manufactured by them) and was made from carved walnut and retailed for $126.00.
The Second Version was designed and manufactured by Bolex themselves and consisted of one big block of walnut and a felt lined cut out sculpted to fit the camera securely. The metal parts being made of brass. It was introduced in 1958.
This one being designed so your left hand grips the first handle and your right hand grips the second which also has the filming release trigger next to it.
Opposite you can see a picture of a rather appropriate looking user who looks like a hit man!
The Third Version I'm unsure of whether it was made by Bolex themselves as I cannot find any reference to it in my usual sources. This one consists of a metal frame where wooden blocks have been screwed on to it. Obviously a less cheaper method of making the gunstock rather than carving it from a chunk of walnut. I can only assume this came last. Again it is for round base cameras only.
Possible uses? Well I have never actually got my hands on one of these, but I'm sure they would enable you to hold the camera rock steady while taking a shot even if you would look rather ridiculous doing so.