Brown and Black Altman

microstar

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Jan 19, 2014
Location
Lawton, OK
I have a brown altman 3.5q but I've noticed that the ones that are sold new on the altman website are black. Why?
They ran out of brown paint??

Reminds me of one of the funniest product introductions at a LDI new product breakfast many many years ago. A representative of Little Stage Lighting, Dallas, TX proudly held up a new small ellipsoidal spot fixture and said something to the effect that they spent a lot of time researching the color for their new fixtures and finally came up with the ideal one: "gray.....the color of dust".
There was a slight pause in the audience's reaction and then a big ripple of laughter as everyone realized how much dust fixtures tend to accumulate and how black fixtures take on a gray appearance.
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
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May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
That’s not brown paint that’s rust colored paint.
 
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JohnD

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north central OK
No,no,no, it's not brown (or rust!!), but Hammertone Bronze. So there.
 

theatricalmatt

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May 25, 2013
Location
New England
They're essentially different generations of the same light. The "bronze age" of Altman seemed to be the late 70s / early 80s; they switched to the black paint treatment around the same time the Source Four came out (1992).

The important parts of the light -- the reflector, lens assembly, etc. -- should be more or less identical. One reason I mentally pair the black Altmans with the Source Four is that the switched to a similar yoke lock arrangement on the 360Qs (6 x 9s, the 3.5x big brother); but the 3.5s kept the same yoke lock mechanism as before.
 

SteveB

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Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
I think about the time they went black they also changed the aluminum body, no longer using the bubble texture (if memory serves). As well they changed to a different tilt system, using the side plate for the handles and not the T handle threaded direct to the body. I stopped using the fixture after S4’s became prevalent.
 
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Les

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Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
I also have a brown 3.5Q. Much more rare than the 360Q.

I'm not sure there was ever a technical reason other than that just being "their thing" back then. In fact, not all their fixtures were brown. Altman Pars, Scoops, Borderlights, etc were all black, even in the 80's. But for whatever reason, ellipsoidals and fresnels were brown. Their followspots were actually a hammertone teal color around this same time.

I think it's a cool finish, and kind of nostalgic for me.
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
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Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
3.5Q my favorate Leko. Hammertone Brown until the 90's could confirm once I get my access to files restored = new computer. Nothing different I know of.
 

JonCarter

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Apr 18, 2011
Location
Meridian, Idaho, US
Reminds me of the time back at the "Big Outdoor Theeter" when we were having a lot pf trouble with all the instruments rusting. At the beginning of one season we stripped them all down, wire brushed the H out of everything and repainted them, inside & out. The only "rustproof" paint we could get was "Rustoleum #819 Rustproof Red." (It was a little darker than the rust.) When the season opened everybody asked, "Hay, where's we get all the new lights?"
 

gafftapegreenia

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CB Mods
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Location
Michigan
I imagine that hammertone bronze violates current EPA standards.
 
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SteveB

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Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
on a related note, why is it that altman is still selling the 3.5? the little light is from the 70s and all that has changed is the paint colour and the yoke lock?
It's a nice little unit is why. It'll take a GLC lamp and has a nice form factor, only about 5" longer than an S4 Mini, and a whole lot punchier than the Mini, which has a crappy MR16 50w lamp.

There's a Boston based childrens theater company - Chamber Theater, which uses the Altman extensively in a rig designed to work in spaces from a cafe-torium to a 2300 seat road house. The fixtures fit nicely on the Leprecon dimmers, take up half the road box space of a real S4 and are pretty robust.
 

macsound

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Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
I image that yea, those brown fixtures were designed for cafe-toriums of the 70s and 80s where black was an incredibly obvious color against the brown of the wood ceiling, tables stored in the walls and hardwood floors. Heck, even the administrators wore all brown suits.
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
I imagine that hammertone bronze violates current EPA standards.
Not getting current political, but I believe RustOleum still sells hammertone brown as per the best match of color. Problem is that it's not high temperature. So it will tend to boil or flake and rust off. Their various colors of "Rust Reformer" will take a lot more heat though, as will the various high temp paint on the market. Flat or Barbicue paints seem to rust faster than other paints due to their flat surface. Also noted at work, we are more rolling stuff with stencil ink - but what's being rolled is usually aluminum.
 

techieman33

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Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Location
topeka, ks
It's a nice little unit is why. It'll take a GLC lamp and has a nice form factor, only about 5" longer than an S4 Mini, and a whole lot punchier than the Mini, which has a crappy MR16 50w lamp.

There's a Boston based childrens theater company - Chamber Theater, which uses the Altman extensively in a rig designed to work in spaces from a cafe-torium to a 2300 seat road house. The fixtures fit nicely on the Leprecon dimmers, take up half the road box space of a real S4 and are pretty robust.
They've played in our 2400 seat theater. I seem to recall them carrying at least one source 4 mini also the last time they were here. I think they had a gobo in it or something like that.
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
on a related note, why is it that altman is still selling the 3.5? the little light is from the 70s and all that has changed is the paint colour and the yoke lock?
Agreed with Steve, until you have used one in good condition in a small space... you don't understand how good a fixture it is. Trauma might be from memory they are advertising only the MC' series of them for sale. That's the E-11 based crappy lamp version. But I believe you can still get the G-9.5 version on specific request, or easily convert and it is worth it. Even used to own one with an Iris installed in it... I know where this fixture currently lives and at some point I will trade something for it in getting it back.

Pulling up a tale from way back in the forum...
I was designing a show at a store front theater in Chicago while going to school 120 miles away at ISU. "My Kindom for another Leko"! The theater had just enough money to buy parts to fix some of the bone yard hung in the saw room. I placed an order thru Altman to get the parts needed... but they didn't get to me on time. This after many calls etc. to check the status. Wrote a pre-email letter, now called snail mail letter to Altman about this problem. Robert Altman himself called me - probably multible times in catching my dorm room phone to personally apologize and explain. It would seem they were attempting to get the HX-600 lamp onto the market and some other improvements - probably the Shakespere done before LDI or USITT and had shut down all other areas of the company for work. He greatly apologized for not sending the parts I needed for the show and sent me some swag, extra parts, the parts I needed and this new HX-600 lamp for free.

Other kids on campus had lazer pointer's, I was the first on campus with a HX-600 lamp and my now repaired 3.5Q5 certainly was bright in shining out my dorm room window at other buildings. Honored is not enogh to express the feeling that I as some college punk kid got a personal call from the head of Altman in his regrets that some show I was designing didn't get it's parts requested so as to make the show work. (At that point our college was on schedule to get like 12x S-4 fixtures and none yet).

Design wise, I made "Magic" with some 3.5Q5's a few times. That's when the lighting, talent, scenery come together at a dramatic moment where you can see the audience and for a few times, you can just feel the "thing" as it were. This being there lively theater happening. This of so talented actors finding their marks and with that the whole world you designed making something happen. (Miss those days.)

The 3.5Q series is a really well designed lighting fixture - the best of them. ETC Mini Leko's, if a lamp explodes inside it, you have to deconstruct the fixture. ETC never got it right. Kliegl and Colortran had them and invented them as per the first Leko's invented to be the first halogen Leko's... Altman improved the concept. Only upgrade to such a lighting fixture would be a dichroic reflector so as to use a more powerful lamp. And perhaps that iris that can be done as option.
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
I image that yea, those brown fixtures were designed for cafe-toriums of the 70s and 80s where black was an incredibly obvious color against the brown of the wood ceiling, tables stored in the walls and hardwood floors. Heck, even the administrators wore all brown suits.
Very interesting thoughts on why that color. Can you expand that history further?
 
Joined
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Location
Chatham,. NJ
Since we seem to have crossed over into talking about the 3.5 Altman's, I'll throw in my little bit of knowledge about them. Over the years, I bought about 18 of them from Altman's rental house. They are great little instruments, which also have the ability to use different focal length lens tubes in the base unit. As for the dichroic reflectors, they did produce a few with a polished faceted reflector, which I am sure cost them additional $$$'s. I was told that they got complaints that the increased light output was eating up the color media. I have 7 of those and wouldn't trade them for almost anything. The light output using a 575watt lamp is quite impressive. The only brown Altman's we still have are some 'older' (LOL) 360Q - 20X40 zooms. I'll bet you don't see them very often, if ever.