Born in January 1918, Eddie worked for a long time as an electrical engineer for Wollongong Council and spent many of his evenings employed as a projectionist in theatres throughout the Illawarra region, including the Regent Theatre, Civic Theatre and later as the Saturday night projectionist at the School of Arts Theatre in Balgownie. It was here at the School of Arts Theatre that Eddie operated a pair of Cummings and Wilson ‘junior’ (model P6) projectors.
After three or four years operating them he decided it was time to make one. With a keen eye for detail and a love of tinkering in his workshop, Eddie set himself the challenge of manufacturing an exact replica of the 35mm projector.
In 1944 when Eddie began this endeavour, wartime restrictions meant that supplies of machinery and electrical parts were meagre. He had to be creative as even basic hardware – like screws, nuts and bolts –needed to be individually fabricated.
Teaching himself to cast metal from scraps and pistons collected from a local car yard, Eddie set up a foundry in his backyard and got to work. The only parts of the projector he needed to source elsewhere were the sound and light lenses.
Working on it every evening, most weekends and even Christmas Day, Eddie spent over 14 months and 2000 hours producing a perfect replica 35mm Cummings and Wilson projector. In the end, it cost him less than 20 pounds to build.