How to Thread a Bell & Howell 253A Projector

By Greyson Ferguson

You can watch your old 8mm film strips with the help of your 253A projector.
i role of film image by Slobodan Djajic from

If you or a family member ever owned an 8mm film camera, you probably have a box of old film reels sitting around the attic somewhere. Unless you have a projector, it is not possible to watch this footage. The Bell & Howell 253A is an 8mm film projector that is capable of playing back your footage on anything from a projector screen to a white wall. In order view the film, though, you do need to properly thread the projector with your film reel.

Open up the Bell & Howell projector. There is a large lid on the side that pulls off, revealing the docks for the film reels and the sprockets for threading the film.

Extend the two reel arms at the top of the projector. One pulls out to be directly in front of the projector while the other is behind.

Slide the film reel onto the reel arm in front of the projector. Make sure the film reel rotates forward, or overhand (like a toilet paper roll).

Thread the film strip through the sprocket directly under the reel. There is a large sprocket with a smaller wheel next to it. Feed the film directly between the two.

Pull the film strip down in front of the projector lens, then through the sprocket at the bottom of the projector. Once through, follow the directional groves of the projector up toward the rear film reel. Slip the end of the film strip into the small slit in the middle of the film reel, then rotate it to away from the projector a few rotations. Once set, you are ready to begin watching your film strip.