Object of the month – February 2024

2A Box Brownie Camera made by Canadian Kodak Ltd

The Kodak Brownie was created by George Eastman and originally manufactured by Frank Brownell in Rochester, New York.  It was a basic cardboard box camera with a simple meniscus lens. This was a camera distilled to its basic elements and this made it much cheaper and easier to use than other types of cameras. It had a single shutter speed and narrow apertures that created a deep depth of field. The lens could not be focused, and early Brownies had only a basic view finder – many people just used marks on top of the camera as a rough guide.

The camera took 2 1/4-inch photos and had a 117 roll film. It sold for $1, equivalent to $31 today. Film was cheap too; for just $2.00 you could buy a film and get your photos developed.

Millions of these cameras were sold and it is considered by many to be the most important camera ever made, because it was cheap enough to be very affordable.

 

 

 

 

A big marketing campaign was also aimed especially at young people looking to buy their first camera.

 

The last official Brownie was made in 1986.

This camera was made in Toronto, Canada, in the early 1900s and it is part of the
Camera Shop display in the Museum Reception.