The History of the Kodak Brownie

Kodak Brownie

One of the very first cameras to make photography simpler and more accessible to everyone was the Kodak Brownie. It was a fixed shutter speed camera with no aperture control or focusing abilities–and was essentially little more than a box with a fake leather exterior for gripping purposes. You could say it was one of the first point and shoot cameras.

The Brownie is an important camera to the history of photography because of what it did for the masses by making photography more commonplace and easier for the common man. This tradition would continue to be scoffed at by the more bourgeois amongst us with the Canon AE1, the inception of digital photography, and most recently the iPhone working in conjunction with Instagram.

According to Kodak’s history timeline, the first Brownie was introduced in 1900 and sold for $1. The film was sold for 15 cents a roll.

Eric Kim cites that Vivian Maier used one before upgrading to the more TLR style cameras that she was known for using.

More on the Brownie is in a video after the jump.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.