Public Domain Super Heroes
Sanford Quest

Real Name

Sanford Quest

First Appearance

The Black Box (Film, 1915)

Original Publisher

Universal Film Manufacturing Co.

Created by

E. Phillips Oppenheim


Sanford Quest was a criminologist and scientific detective who uses a wide variety of gadgets of his own invention, including an “electric mind-reader," a viewphone, a pocket bomb made of a super-powerful explosive, and a "pocket wireless telephone," to fight against crime. He was also an expert in hypnosis. He was athletic, an exceptional fighter and extremely brave and level headed. He is described by one character as, "the greatest master in criminology the world has ever known. He is a magician, a scientist, the Pierpont Morgan of his profession.”

Quest investigated the mystery of the black box and brought down Lord Professor Ashleigh, a mad scientist who has created a suit which renders the wearer invisible when charged with electricity. Ashleigh’s reign of terror was brought to an end when he was killed in a fight to the death with Quest.


  • The Black Box (1915) is a 15-part movie serial that is considered "lost", meaning that no known copies exist. The film was written in part by E. Phillips Oppenheim, a very popular novelist at the time. The story was also published in 1915 as a novel, and as a newspaper serial. Both published editions were illustrated by photographic stills taken from the movie serial. In the novel version, about 20 stills from the movie are preserved. These can be seen in the version.
  • Plot Synopsis at Progressive Silent Film List