THE ELEMACK STORY by Mr. David Samuelson
In 1962 an italian engineer, Sante Zelli, left native city of Rome on a sales to promote a revolutionary new type of hidraulically-operated, single-column dolly he had recently invented.
There had never been a dolly anything like it before - meaning that he not only, had to overcome the film technicians' natural reactance to use strange equipment on important assignments, but also something innovative from a far distant land. By 1979, zelli had manufactured and sold more than 2,500 Elemack Spyder dollys to more than 60 countries all over the world - by any standards, a notable achievement.
There were a number of aspects of the Elemack Spyder ( or Octopus as it is known in Britain) which made it unique from the very beginning. Its single column with an integral foot-operated hydraulic pump, adjustable wheels ( the configuration of which may be easily changed from compact to wide spread or to an extremely narrow gauge), the possibility of the steering being changed from four-wheel crab to two-wheel syeer, and the availability of alternative wheels, one type which will run on a smooth floor and another which will run on tubular track that can easily be laid on rough and undulating surfaces. Sections of tubular track which may be laid in a manner similar to sections of toy railway tracks and contributed to this form of dolly becoming a "system".
Over the years the versatility of the Spyder has been increased by the introduction of the Mini and Jonathan crane arms (which gave the possibility of greater reach, height and overhang, of moving the camera up, down and slewing it around in-shot), the Snake arm which makes possible ultra-low camera positioning, the combined surface and track wheels which makes it possible to operate the dolly alternatively on a flat surface or on straight track without the time-wasting operation of changing the wheels, and so on.
Now, with the introduction of the new Cricket dolly, Sante Zelli has retained the original concept of a single column on a multi-configuration wheel system , but has made it a column which may be raised or lowered in -shot with extreme smoothness.
The principal different between the Spyder and the Cricket is that the old pedal-operated, triple-hidraulic columns have been replaced by a new double extension elevating system operated by an Electro-hidro-Drive unit. The two extentions operate simultaneously being positively linked together by a chain system.
The two extension tubes of the Cricket dolly are made of triangular-shaped aluminium alloy extrusion which run moothly together on roller bearings on hardened ang ground steel guides. Thi system assures rigidity between the columns without the need for clamps on the top of each section.
There being only one hydraulic cylinder on the cricket, it follows there is only one "O" ring, thus reducing the amount of periodic maintenance required.
The Electric-Hidraulic Drive unit incorporates a 115V AC/DC motorised pump, a manual back-up pump, two hydraulic accumulators and all the necessary hydraulic controls to give an exceptionally wide range of variable speeds in either direction with an automatic soft stop at either end of the travel.
The 26 inches of vertical movement can be set to go infinitely slowly……….