Kodak, No.2 Folding Autographic Brownie camera, c1916 -1926
Kodak No.2 Folding Autographic camera for 8 images on 120 roll film, made by the Eastman Kodak Co. Rochester, New York, probably about 1918. By 1920 Eastman Kodak were manufacturing a bewildering range of cameras, many of which were identical in respect of performance. An odd state of affairs as Eastman was business savvy and generally forward looking. This camera was made in parallel with the partly wooden No1. Autographic but offering no technical improvement photographically, instead using a different construction. Ansco Manufacturing, also from New York state, were already producing slim elegant cameras of all metal folded construction a while before Kodak. It may be that Kodak was burdened by the manufacturing infrastructure it had been using for some years knocking out wooden cameras and was slow to re-tool. Earliest versions of the all metal No.2 Folding Brownie featured squared off ends but the design quickly evolved to this version. The back, which forms the outer body is constructed of thin steel sheet, stamped, formed then joined. The method of joining is undetermined, possibly soldered. Sitting within this is the rest of the removable body, similarly constructed. Hinged to this is the front hatch/lens bed and lensboard rail. The covering is a very thin natural leather, with a finer embossing than used on the wooden bodied Kodaks. The two parts form a simple grooved light tight connection and locked with a sliding catch, it's an elegant and efficient solution, if a little fiddly to get the film in and out. The shutter used was the same Kodak ball bearing shutter and lens combinations used in other Kodak offerings at the time. The bellows were made from sealed linen, perfectly adequate for the time but rarely usable decades later. The bellows on this camera are a bit overstretched, a small number of pleats being used to minimise folds and material used but to prevent the pleats from cutting off the image they were made to be nearly flat when opened.
Another donation, and another that is not used. The reason being holed bellows, since the lens and shutter combination are identical to the restored No1 Autographic in the collection I decided to maintain its originality. Fortunately we are able to publish two photographs from an identical camera. Kodak ball bearing shutters seem to last forever, the one fitted here required no work and is still merrily clicking away a century after it was made. The camera is shown opened with the roll of film that was found inside it. Unfortunately it yielded no results.
The processing tank is a much later donation, arriving in 1999. For an explanation of the Autographic feature see Kodak Autographics.
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