It was the curves that caught my eye. I’d never seen one like it. The copper/gold bubbled front panel glittered and beckoned at me from the cabinet. The unusual shape; the name Birdie and the typeface used; the two round holes in the front, jet engine-like in nature; the ‘plastic-ness’ of it…it was love at first sight.
Love at first sight is generally the key to being adopted and finding a place in my home if you happen to belong to the vintage photography category. So much for sticking with purchasing smaller items, the minute I laid eyes on this Birdie III Fuji Projector at Hunted Antiques I knew it was coming home with me.
The Birdie III hails from the pre tray/carousel projector days and using it can be somewhat tedious as it has two slide slots. While your captivated (or is it captive?) audience is busy ‘oooing’ and ‘aaahing’ at the projection on the wall, you—the Slidemaster—must fumble about loading the next slide so as not to disrupt the viewing pleasure of others. However, on closer inspection, I realised this model also came with an automatic slide changer allowing you to load a handful of slides at a time.
I like to know the when and the where of my collection and whilst it’s a no brainer that it was made in Japan, (it says so on the box) the year of production is a little more elusive. If I am to go by eBay and other online sale listings it was made sometime in the 60s; educated guesses no doubt. Finding information on Kodak products, no matter how old, is a much easier task due to the number of sites dedicated to its history. I shot an email off to Fuji Australia and surprisingly someone cared enough to do their own online research and reply, but sadly they came up empty too.
This Birdie III Fuji Projector is in absolute pristine condition—in fact it looks like it rarely came out of the box. That’s the trouble with slides, it’s only the passing of time (lots of time!) that makes them interesting. The price tag was $35 (AUD) and there was 40% off the day I was there so I ended up paying $21.
The set consists of the projector, the carry bag, the instruction pamphlet, the Silica gel packet made from a cloth bag held together with 2 staples and the actual cardboard box in came in complete with a the name of the person who presumably owned it – Mrs P C Schefferle of Newtown, Geelong (Melb, Australia).
Welcome to my collection little Birdie…