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Kodak Retina 117, 35mm folding camera 1934

The First Kodak Retina. One of the more important camera's from history, the model 117 Retina introduced the world to 35mm film wound into a "Daylight Loading Cartridge". Although cameras utilizing the 35mm movie film already existed (most famously Ernst Leitz's Leica), it was Kodak who thought of packaging up a convenient length into a daylight loading cartridge, called the 135 format and kicked off the 35mm revolution. The Retina 117 was the launch camera for this film. The 117 is identified easily as it has the wind on release knob on top of the housing next to the advance wheel and is the only Retina to ever have this. The model 117 was replaced by the 118 within a year, so production was quite short lived. Many thanks to Mrs. F. Kennedy for donating it, and her late husband for hoarding it ! The camera was discovered in a box unknown to anyone and was in a bad way with many problems, sadly he took the secret of why he had it to the grave. The old Retina was rebuilt to working order and is regularly aired. The early Retinas are very usable classics, but be careful to depress the two lens board locks before trying to close one, forcing by unknowing individuals will bend the struts. Also ensure the lens is focussed at infinity, otherwise the extended front will scratch the inside surface of the front hatch. Also trying to close one with the shutter cocked will pinch the cocking lever in the hatch too. The early Retinas are finished in black lacquer but by the end of 1939 this had given way to chrome.

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Kodak Retina 117, 35mm folding camera 1934
Body No.454038
Shutter, Compur No.2898395, speeds B, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 & 300th
Condition, 5F, restoration not carried out to "as new".
Lens No.686255, Schneider Kreuznach, Xenar 50mm f/3.5


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We have a collection of 'The Kodak Magazine' from 1931 to 1935, sadly the first four years have been bound and the covers have been removed, with most of the adverts. However the first detailed advert for the Retina pops up in the December 1934 edition (left). The first all out advert appears in the April 1935 Holiday supplement, the cover of which is in the middle and the advert at right. The camera in the advert is photographed clearly enough to see the serial number of the Schneider Kreuznach lens - No. 670281, which was made in about May 1934.

 

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