This old trooper has been around since April 1953. The first Strand Patt23 was designed for Amateur or Little Theatres as the Strand press release noted. The first Patt 23’s had noshutters for beam shaping. Basically you slide a straight edge adjustable mask into the gobo slot to shape the beam. And there are still plenty of the first range of P23’s around, and in some theatres you will still find the beam shaping slides that went into the gobo slot. The beam angle is 20 degrees.Now for the first series of patt 23’s you could get extra lens as accessories. One of the lens would fit in the diaphragm section of the lens tube, it then became the Patt23W thus giving at a beam angle of 36 degrees. There was also a fresnel lens that replaced the front lens turning it into a 23F, the beam angle was then 30 degrees.
Little did Strand know how popular this model would become.
They then released a mark 2 version. This still had the same extra lens etc, but the main difference was the addition of shutters into the bodies. This made the unit more versatile.
In use the lanterns are still quite good. I am still using then for specials and sidelights in dance. Focusing them can become a problem if they have been on for a while, they become very hot and I have burnt many a finger focusing them. The plastic knobs on the shutters can break off and then it is very difficult to adjust them as they do heat up. The shutters can stick as can the lens tube when focusing. One problem that seems common is they can droop when you tighten the tilt control knob. To fix this problem all you need to do is open the lantern remove the reflectors and tighten the nuts on the stirrup anchors. You can upgrade the lamp to a 650w lamp but it will get even hotter.
These are solid workhorses of lighting. Many a technician first experience with lights was with this baby. They maybe old but with tender loving care they will keep working for years. So regular maintenance is the key with this lantern.
I still love using this lantern, I have achieved some great lighting with the Strand light. I don’t think there has been another lantern like it and with the longevity.