This page is concerned only with Kodak cameras made in the USA (not the UK or Germany). The logo above dates back to 1907 and is the initials of the original company name – the Eastman Kodak Company.

1901 KODAK No.2 Box Brownie

The Box Brownie was invented by Frank A. Brownell in 1900. According to Wikipedia “The name come the the brownies (spirits in folklore) in Palmer Cox cartoons”. It took 2¼” square film.

The No.2 was an improved version which came out in 1901. It cost $2 and many thousands were produced. Brownie Box cameras were finally discontinued in 1935.

1910 KODAK No.2A Folding Pocket Brownie 'Automatic'

Again, quoting “Imitation leather covered wood body; reversible reflecting finder; sliding focusing with automatic lock; sliding back released by concealed buttons from serial number 1”.

From August 1911 the attractive red bellows were dropped, black being used instead. It was discontinued in 1915.

The Kodak No. 2A Folding Pocket Brownie is an early folding camera introduced by Eastman Kodak Company in 1910 at a price of $7 (about $170 in today’s money). The No. 2A is designed for the now defunct 116 film format which is very similar to 616 but with wider spool flanges. While we may think it’s a bit strange for Kodak to name this brick-sized camera a “Pocket” Brownie, it was considerably more portable than many of its contemporaries. Operation of this beautiful camera is fairly straightforward and simple. To unfold the camera, a hidden button located between the hand strap lugs on the top plate must be pressed to release the lens. Once the camera is unfolded, set the focus distance by adjusting the focus tab on the user’s right side of the lens rail and pull the lens out to align with the tab. Composition can be determined by using the right angle viewfinder on the opposite side of the lens rail. The viewfinder is set for landscape orientation by default but can easily be rotated 90 degrees for portraits. The aperture of the Brownie’s simple meniscus lens has four settings that can be selected by sliding the tab underneath the lens: “1” is f/8.8, “2” is f/11, “3” is about f/14, and “4” is f/16. The Brownie Automatic shutter has only three settings which can be set by sliding a similar tab above the lens: “I” (about 1/25 seconds), Bulb, and Time. Once everything is ready, press the shutter lever at the 10 o’clock position on the lens barrel to make the exposure and then wind the knob on the top plate to advance the film until the next frame number appears in the back plate’s red window.

1912 & 1914 KODAK VPKs (Vest Pocket Kodaks)

The KODAK Vest Pocket Kodak or VPK came out at about the time of the Titanic tragedy, April 1912. It was a revolutionary camera, as it offered “vest pocket” portability together with a reasonable price of $6 (or around £150 in todays money). Kodak brought out a new film known as 127 specifically for it, giving 8 images around 4 x 6cm in size. Amazingly they had serial numbers, so can be dated reasonably accurately. Around 200,000 were sold up to 2014 when they introduced the Autographic feature, where using a special stylus (most of which have become lost) the user could write a few details directly onto the film. Kodak paid the inventor of this (Henry Gaisman) the astronomical sum of $300,000 (around £7.5 million in todays money).

Features were the KODAK ball-bearing shutter No.0 offering two speeds, 1/25, 1/50, B and T. Apertures, labelled according to weather conditions were f11, 16 or 22 (the lens was supposed to be a f6.8, but was masked off with the shutter in front.).

My examples, seen above, are, left –  original 1912 model (with leather case); and right – a similar 1914 model. 

These cameras became known as the Soldiers camera, in spite of being forbidden, many iconic images taken during WW1 were taken with these cameras.

1918 Vest Pocket Autographic Kodak Special

Apart from the autographic feature this version had a leathercloth finish and a Kodak Anastigmat f/6.9 87mm lens in front of the shutter. Speeds and apertures were the same as the earlier models.

1934 KODAK Six-16

This camera belonged to my grandfather who lived in or near Laval in France until he prematurely died in 1960. He bought it before the war, and used it until his death. Its Art Deco design touch is a distinguishing feature. It uses a 126mm f/6/3 Kodak Anastigmat lens. It uses the No. 1 Diodak shutter, which fires at 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, and 1/100 sec, plus T and B. It sport two viewfinders. The first is a small “brilliant” type attached to the lens assembly that swivels to frame portrait and landscape photos. The second is a gunsight type attached to the camera body.

1938 Jiffy KODAK V.P.

This camera was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, and took the then ubiquitous 127 roll film.  The lens is a two element fixed focus and has 2 apertures, ‘large’ and ‘small’ controlled by a slider maked “D”, with no indication as to which is which! Another smaller slider marked “B” controls the 2 shutter ‘speeds’, Instantaneous and Time. Portrait attachments were available for images were the subject was 3½ feet away.

1941 KODAK Brownie Junior Six-20 (Portrait Model)

According to “This camera has a grained leatherette card body and two reflecting finders. The body comes apart with a split design. It features a portrait lens that slides in and out. It has a time exposure setting along with the normal shutter setting.
This camera came with either a long side latch or a short side latch. Both were produced during the run of the camera. I’m not sure why however I can guess they used the latch that was available at the time. This camera was also produced in Argentina in 1940 to celebrate 25 years of Kodak Argentina Ltda. Each Argentine camera had it’s own serial number, which is not common for Brownies”.

1957 KODAK Junior II

According to Camera-Wiki “The Kodak Junior I and II are 620 film folding cameras made by Kodak Ltd. in the UK. They were introduced in July 1954 and made until 1959. The same body – with a better lens and shutter – was used for the Sterling II.
The Junior I has a simple lens and single-speed Kodette III everset shutter; the Junior II has an adjustable diaphragm, two-speed (1/50, 1/25 + B & T) Dakon shutter and a focusing Anaston lens. The Junior II has a body release, but the Junior I has a very awkward release protruding from the lens block, just in front of the oversized mounting plate – intended for a much larger device, as on the Sterling”.

1980 KODAK EK160

Kodak used to make instant film for Polaroid. When Polaroid started to make their own film, Kodak decided to launch their own range of instant cameras. This example (sold in the USA as the Colorburst 50) uses two mirrors to reduce the overall depth of the body and has an electronic shutter for it’s fixed focus lens. The lens was a 100mm f12.8, shutter was 2 to 1/300sec, film was PR10 (PR144) and the picture size was 67 x 91mm.

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