Vintage and Classic Cameras
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Vest Pocket Autographic Kodak camera, c1914

Kodak's Vest Pocket Kodak, often known simply by the initials VPK, is a trellis strut folding 127 roll film camera with autographic feature. The autographic feature first appeared around 1914 consisted of a small trap door in the back of the camera that could be opened to gain access to the backing paper of the roll film. The idea being that once a picture had been exposed, this trap door was opened and, using a supplied metal stylus, the photographer scratched any details of the picture into the backing paper. This would result in a thinning of the paper, and by directing the open trap door to light - the details would be recorded photographically in the gap between negatives. Fitted with Kodak ball bearing shutter, these seem to last the test of time, nearly all the ones I've come across still worked, this one is the exception, although after a total strip down and clean it now works again. For the era, it's quite an intricate mechanism, especially considering the numbers produced. The trellis strut arrangement avoided the problems of the lens board flexing under the strain of the bellows, it also allows fairly rapid deployment of the lens. The camera was made with a number of styling variations throughout its production life, early ones appear to have smooth paint on the lensboard, this changed to crackle finish a little later. This particular camera was donated in July 2009 by Mr. S. Hedley.

It joins a slightly later example, click here

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Kodak, Vest Pocket Autographic Kodak camera, c1914

Body No.622770
Shutter, Kodak ball bearing shutter, speeds T, B, 25, & 50th
Lens, Rapid Rectilinear f/7.7
Condition, 5F

View other 127 roll film cameras in this collection.

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Open Kodak VPK - slide 1

Open Kodak VPK - slide 2

Open Kodak VPK - slide 3

With the trellis strut folding mechanism fitted to Kodak's Vest Pocket Kodak, the user simply pulls the lensboard forward to the end of its travel, sets the camera up and it's ready to go. It's a neat solution. Closing the camera is equally simple, just push on the lensboard with evenly centred pressure. The trellis struts made the camera rigid enough to serve their purpose well, so much so that the VPK sold in the hundreds of thousands, although later versions went back to the simpler pull along the lens bed method.

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