Auto-Graflex Camera in Underwater Housing

This underwater camera housing holds an Auto-Graflex 4x5” camera body. It was first used by W.H. Longley of Goucher College in 1918. Longley later teamed with Charles Martin of the National Geographic Society to take the first underwater color autochrome photographs with this outfit. The team exploded a pound of flash powder, floated on three pontoons, and used a reflector to take pictures off Dry Tortugas, Florida. A selection of the photographs and the story were published in National Geographic Magazine in January 1927.
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 housing, underwater
date made
Eastman Kodak Company. Folmer & Schwing Division
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 54 cm x 38.5 cm x 36.5 cm; 21 1/4 in x 15 3/16 in x 14 3/8 in
Place Made
United States: New York, Rochester
ID Number
catalog number
accession 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 Waldo Schmitt

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