We obtained recently an exceptionally rare device


Askania Kinotheodolit Kth 41


Albeit, that on the web I found a reference to: Type 53

Though, whether this concerned a post-war modification is not yet clear to me.

Page has been initiated on 11 September 2021


Update: 2


Current Status: 14 September 2021


What was the purpose of a Kinotheodolit?




When, or example, at Peenemünde, or in post-war America - experimental rockets were launched - it is essential to trace the trajectory up to a considerable height.

Two man on both sides were controlling the actual movements.

One operator, followed the azimuth, whereas the opposite operator followed the elevation (height) of the body.

At the rear end there runs a 35 mm film registrations the both fore called parameters, but also the image of the launched body was optically recorded on that movie film.


We do not yet possess any form of documentation.




Our apparatus just arrived, and being moved to our rear exhibition room

The big lens, had been disconnected during transport as were some other parts.


We have to apologise for Marc's movement during the hectic of  events

In front a film measuring viewer


In the background Anton Kroes, whom especially came over the support us, because we guess this bulky device weights perhaps some 80 kg!



The lens covers have been taken off


Myself, not often photographed


The unit designated Kth 41 stood for Kino-Theodolit 41 might point at the year of its introduction

The two wooden handles left and right cause up-down and left-right movement of the film section viewed at.


bxx tells us that the manufacturer was Askania

The white plate is explaining the consequences of the two handle movements.


Inside the curved rear section are mounted the film two cassettes (one exposed and one un-exposed)

What I have not yet find out that, is, as far as found on the web; is, that the elevation controlling operator also had the secure the correct distance focus of the big lens in the centre.

But, how I don't know yet. What might hamper us, is, that in non-operational condition the optical section in the rear being shut-off from the image passing though the big lens.


Continuing on 14 September 2021 with contribution 2



Viewing again in a bit increased detail our Askania Kinotheodolit



bxx 4    (Askania; likely serial number 4)

Kth 41 (Kinotheodolit type 41, which value might also be related to the year of its introduction, thus 1941)

715    (likely a number used during manufacture, as on the next photo - which shows the rectangular blue/grey plate from a different angle)



When you look at it carefully, you will also recognise the number 715 as is noticed on the foregoing type number plate

Looking upward we notice the figures 4,5    6,3 constituting the regular logarithmic diaphragm value.

First we learn that the maximal lens opening is diaphragm 4,5



I have to apologise for the over-exposed light reflecting in our camera lens

Viewing inside the film recording compartment

Please notice the two tubes left and right from the centre section.

The data of elevation and azimuth have to be recorded together with the image of the monitored rocket launch.

As analysis can only be maintained when all concerned parameters and the image are exactly coinciding. 



The rod on the right-hand side is pointing at the tube through which the light-beam containing the azimuth data (value or figure)



Now pointing at the tube through which the light beam containing the data of the system elevation; as to provide after reflection, likely through a prism also these data on the film strip

Used was 35 mm a regular film size even for movie cinema.



All these figure were in those days used in connection with camera lens diaphragms



A quite nice image from the diaphragm setting and the showing also the way the lens being fixed onto the main body

Lens Serial number: 340766



Albeit that I am not acquainted with Czech language, the switch is selecting either between the Din sensitivity value of 16° or 21°

Regularly this section being screened-off by means of a lid. 



YouTube films:


Film 00088:       Viewing the newly obtained Askania Kinotheodolite. Such apparatus had been used, for example, in Peenemuende and after the war also in the US, recording experimental rocket launching.

Film 00089:        Now we are viewing the 35 mm film recording cabin. Also is shown how the Azimuth and Elevation data being optically added onto the recording fil-strip.





To be continued in due course, Deo volente



By Arthur O. Bauer