|Kodak, No.3A Folding Brownie, 122 Roll film (Postcard format) camera, c1909|
The Kodak No.3A used 122 roll film, producing a large negative 3.25 x 5.25 inches, often referred to as postcard format. Unlike the earlier vertically styled Folding Pocket Kodaks, these folding Brownies were arranged in landscape format using considerably cheaper methods of consruction. 122 roll film is extinct sadly, as the format is nicely proportioned. Produced in quite large numbers. reportedly 114,000 or so, they often crop up in antique stalls. Most of the ones I've seen have been red bellows, Kodak had ceased making red bellows across the range by the end of 1912. Up until 1914 they were supplied with a handsome, though limited, brass cased Kodak FPK shutter, which was actually a badged Bausch and Lombe product. Kodak were seemingly motivated to keep everything in house, switching to the, admittedly better, Kodak Ball Bearing shutter until production ceased around 1915. The No.3A Folding Brownie came with Meniscus Achromatic lenses or the more expensive Rapid Rectilinear, again from Bausch and Lombe. Build quality is pretty good and typically minimalist, the parts count being quite low for a camera of this size. Construction is predominantly wood, with nickel plated bright parts. The leather bellows are nicely pleated for the time, but the wooden carcass covering is a man made leather effect material. Despite he size, it wasn't a technically innovative camera, with no lens movements fitted and focus was set against a scale. In use the lensboard needs to be pulled forward until it locks gently at the front of the focus rail. Focussing was against a scale, which was preset with a lever, the focus rail moves until it locks into the detent selected. Frame counting was courtesy of the classic red window, so ubiquitous of folding cameras - but not one of Kodak's ideas. The idea of the red window and paper backed film originated with Boston Camera Mfg. Co, with their 1892 Bull's Eye box camera. Kodak, being rather shrewd operators, realized the idea was a winner and bought the company and the patent with it in 1895.
|This example is a rare purchase, being acquired in February 2013 from the adverts fund. Although still working well, it was completely stripped and given a deep clean. Most of the contemporary wear has been retained, but any corrosion was removed.|
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