Box Camera

Production date
1888
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Object Detail


Description
Rectangular box camera, covered in leather. Lens, with lens cap, to the front. Small circular button on the left hand side. Two circular metal plates on the top of the camera, one contains a winder. Short cord in the top right hand corner. Patent marks on the back panel.
Classification
CH classification PHOTOGRAPHY Cameras Still kodak
Measurements
H102 x W 84 x D68mm
Media/Materials description
Leather, metal, cord
Signature/Marks
1001
1001
PAT.MAY 5 1885 / OTHER / PATENTS / APPL'D FOR / IN / ALL COUNTRIES
History and use
This is an example of the first Kodak camera. Released in 1888, this simple box camera was easy to operate and sold for $25 which, while still relatively costly at the time, allowed more people than ever to take photographs.

It was marketed under the Eastman Kodak slogan "You press the shutter, we do the rest". It was sold ready loaded with film sufficient for 100 shots. When these were exposed, the camera was sent to the Kodak factory for processing. Finally, new film was loaded into the camera, which was returned to the customer along with their photographs.

The reason for the Kodak camera's success lies in the film it used. George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak, developed paper-backed film which was more flexible than glass backing. He then invented roll-holders for film, allowing for easy and ample portable storage. Eastman's aim was "to make the camera as convenient as the pencil".

The portability and ease of the box camera meant that people could take shots outside of formal studios, capturing more spontaneous and personalised images than ever before.

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.
Registration number
H4652

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