Original Kodak Camera, Serial No. 2443

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Description
George Eastman invented flexible roll film and in 1888 introduced the Kodak cameras shown to use this film. This camera is now known as the Original Kodak and it took 100 exposure rolls of film that gave circular images 2 5/8" in diameter. In 1888 the original Kodak sold for $25 loaded with a roll of film and included a leather carrying case.
The Original Kodak was fitted with a rotating barrel shutter unique to this model. The shutter was set by pulling up a string on top of the camera and operated by pushing a button on the side of the camera. After taking a photograph a key on top of the camera was used to wind the film onto the next frame. There is no viewfinder on the camera; instead two V shaped lines on the top of the camera leather are intended to aid aiming the camera at the subject. The barrel shutter proved to be expensive to manufacture and unreliable in operation. The following year the shutter was replaced by a simpler sector shutter in the No 1 Kodak.
After 100 pictures had been taken on the film strip the camera could be returned to the Kodak factory for developing and printing at a cost of $10. The camera, loaded with a fresh roll of film was returned with the negatives and mounted prints. Kodak advertisements from 1888 also state that any amateur could ‘finish his own pictures’ and spare rolls of film were sold for $2.
From its invention in 1839, the camera has evolved to fit many needs, from aerial to underwater photography and everything in between. Cameras allow both amateur and professional photographers to capture the world around us. The Smithsonian’s historic camera collection includes rare and unique examples of equipment, and popular models, related to the history of the science, technology, and art of photography.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1888
maker
Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company
Place Made
United States: New York, Rochester
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
leather (overall material)
glass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 9.5 cm x 8.5 cm x 17 cm; 3 3/4 in x 3 3/8 in x 6 11/16 in
ID Number
PG.6519
catalog number
6519
accession number
242983
Credit Line
Gift of Antiques on the Hill
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Artifact Walls exhibit
Photography
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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