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.

Continue reading…

This 1/8th Scale Kodak Brownie Replica is Actually a Fully Working Camera

Julian Dyer Tiny working Brownie camera

“Tiny working Brownie camera” © Julia Dyer on Flickr. Used with permission

This is probably the smallest box camera ever made: a 1/8th scale Kodak Brownie No 2C miniature originally made for Queen Mary’s Doll’s House. And no, it’s not a toy. It’s actually a fully working camera, as you can see from the tiny photograph next to it. The camera never actually found its way into Queen Mary’s Doll’s House, and now it can be admired in the National Media Museum in Bradford, England. Another miniature that was made for Queen Mary is that of a Kodak Autographic No 3A, according to DSLR Magazine. Sadly, there is little information available on either camera.

So if you want to check them out, you’re going to have to make the trip to Bradford. Or you can buy this book, where they are mentioned.

Kodak To Completely Back Out Of Camera Business: The Story Continues

The Kodak Brownie No. 2. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Eastman Kodak, situated in Rochester, NY, pioneer of film photography and inventor of the famous “Brownie” — the first widely available photographic camera for amateurs — just announced that they will completely back out of the camera business. Despite never being really successful on the digital camera market, the brand name “Kodak” is associated with photography like no other.

After the continuous decline of their stock market value during the past couple years, this January Eastman Kodak finally had to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Read more after the jump.

Continue reading…