A Kodak Brownie from 1900. Of course not the original “Kodak” camera from 1888. It’s not even the first version of the Brownie. This came out in February 1900 and was something like a shoe box in that the entire back of the camera pulled off. This is the second version where the “pull off” back has been replaced in March 1900 with a more rigid “hinged” back with a sliding metal latch. This one also has the optional viewfinder, which came out in August 1900. Unfortunately I won’t be posting any pictures from it. It used the now defunct 117 film. The later (October 1901) Brownie 2 used 120 film, which is still available. Maybe I’ll get one to see what shooting with a Brownie is like.

The Kodak Brownie Camera webpage says:

The camera that started it all was a leatherette covered card box with a wooden film carrier. The original had no finder but did have V sighting lines on top. A clip-on accessory reflecting finder became available from August 1900. It had a detachable film winding key that I would imagine got lost often.

This camera is considered by many experts to be the most important camera ever manufactured. The reason is that it was produced so cheaply that anyone, not just professionals or people of means, could own it. Because it was so simple to use, anyone could operate it right out of the box.

I browsed the internet in search of a picture taken with a 1900 Brownie. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything that I could, with certainty, attribute to this specific model i.e. as distinct from something taken by one of the many other Brownie models. I’ll keep looking.




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