Model 252-There’s How Many?

Five. The answer is five, I think.  It’s a little confusing honestly.  Here’s the reason.  Bell and Howell really milked the entire cast aluminum 8mm film camera series.  I mean…they really stretched it out.  In fact, on Page #4 of the User’s Manual for the Model 252, the manufacturer explicitly states it:

For example, Model 252 has five different variants, that I know of, each distinguishable only by their lens speed and face plate design and color scheme. Obviously, these variants were probably a released over a period of years, but with no historical record, it’s hard to know when they were released.  They are:

The Monterey Model (252-A), which I believe has two variants (both have the same lens speed from 2.3 to 16):

The Monterey DeLuxe Model (252-B), which has a lens speed of 1.9 to 16 (two different variants):


The Turret Model (252TA):

In this guide, the manufacturer outlines three different models and their respective lens speeds of the 252:


The potential exists for five 252 variants.  Do you have any insights that can help?

Read the Literature!

Our best source of information for collectors is the literature approved and sanctioned by Bell & Howell and approved third party accessory distributors.

The user’s manuals are solid gold.  They are full of important reference material not solely specific to its respective camera model.

We here at Vintage Bell & Howell are working diligently to collect, digitize, and upload as many documents as possible to be made available to collectors as quickly as possible.  The constraints, however, are two-fold: time and money.

Don’t forget about advertisements as well!  On this website, we’ve dedicate Dan entire page to simply listing as many advertisements as possible in hope that you’ll find one of them useful, but at the very least, entertaining.

In our experience, the literature has provided more insight into these cameras than the cameras themselves.

Why Bell & Howell?

So why collect Bell & Howell?  Why this particular brand?  Why bother trying to create a historical record for posterity?  Frustration-that’s why!  No single , comprehensive, and accurate reference database currently exists for collectors.

I am a collector.  I collect lots of different things from toys to rocks and militaria to books.  I especially enjoy being an informed and knowledgeable collector. 

That’s hard to do when there aren’t any good, comprehensive, and accurate resources out there to reference.  For being such an integral camera company in American history, it’s important these cameras and the information is not lost!  

So, I’m creating my own database.  I don’t have an earnest affinity for Bell & Howell as a brand specifically, but I see a need.  People collect it, I do too,and we need a forum to share information.  Bell & Howell has an impressive history and someone needs to be their steward.

My personal collection, supplemented hopefully by reader feedback and donations, will compromise what I hope will become the single most comprehensive public database available for collectors to use as a reference as they grow their personal collections of Bell & Howell.  

Specifically, I want to focus on images.  History is good, and often best told through photos.

Enjoy!