Polaroid Big Swinger 3000 Camera

In 1947, Edwin H. Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation, first demonstrated his instant photographic process. Years of research and development culminated in the Polaroid Land camera Model 95 for sale to the general public in 1948. It held eight 3 ¼ x 4 ¼” sepia-toned images, which begin processing in the camera and finish developing once pulled from the camera. Prints were ready for the user within sixty seconds. Over the next 50 years, continued advances in Polaroid technology produced a wide-variety of cameras and film, polarizing lenses, and 3-D products sold in the United States and around the world.
Polaroid cameras are popular among professional and amateur photographers as well as artists, but certain cameras are marketed to specific groups, such as young adults and teenagers. The low-cost Swinger camera and Type 20C black and white film were introduced in 1965, just two years after Polaroid perfected instant color film. Prize-winning ad campaigns using slogans such as “$19.95 swings it” were effective. The Swinger gained popularity with young adults and later models like the Polaroid Big Swinger 3000 were produced. Thirty years later the Joycam is the Polaroid camera marketed for this same age group.
Polaroid’s innovative cameras, both instant film and digital, and related products continue to appear in stores and online as the corporation goes through bankruptcy. Digital photography and declining sales make uncertain the company’s future.
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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
camera, instant
date made
ca 1960s
Polaroid Corporation
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 15 cm x 19.5 cm x 14 cm; 5 7/8 in x 7 11/16 in x 5 1/2 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Robert Babcock
Additional Media

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