When Patrick and I first started dating he was well on his way to a career as a photographer, and I soon learned he didn’t collect anything. Now, coming from a family of collectors I was a little shocked. Some years previously I had purchased a cute vintage camera and decided to gift it to him, and said “Here, you collect vintage cameras now.” Eventually it led to a collection of over 40 cameras from various decades.
Since the collection is large, we decided to split it into two blog posts, 1900 through 1949, and 1950 onwards. Many cameras we could find specific dates for, others however only a decade.
Kodak No. 2 Brownie circa 1901-1931
The Kodak No. 2 Brownie was significant in that it was the first camera to use 120 film, which became the standard until 35 mm started to take a greater hold later on.
Zeiss Icarette circa 1910s
Kodak Autographic No. 3A circa 1910-1916
Kodak Petite (blue) and Kodak Rainbow Hawkeye (pink) both circa 1920s
The Petite and Rainbow Hawkeye were similar in many ways with only a handful of small differences. In addition to being sold on its own the Petite was also introduced as part of an ensemble that included a carrying case with lipstick and compact that matched in color to the camera. It was also repackaged as the Coquette, another female oriented set with a compact and lipstick. The Coquette was also offered in a variety of colors, but what made it even more special is that it featured an amazing art decor design on the camera that was also reflected on the compact. The Coquette is basically Patrick’s Holy Grail/unicorn.
The Petite featured a window on the back to inscribe on part of the film using a stylus that was attached to the front, visible on the left in the above photo.
Kodak Rainbow Hawkeye No. 2 Model B circa 1926-1934
This Rainbow Hawkeye is similar to the previous two cameras, except it is slightly larger.
Macy M-16 circa 1930s
Kodak Gift Camera circa 1930
The Kodak Gift Camera was created for the holiday season, but unlike the Coquette this one was suppose to be aimed at men. It was styled by Dorwin Teague, and featured a wonderful art deco design that was reflected throughout the camera and on the cedar box it came in.
Kodak Beau Brownie No. 2 circa 1930-1934
Like the Rainbow Hawkeyes, the Beau Brownies also came in various colors, and these specific cameras are at the top of Patrick’s wish list. There were two different Beau Brownies, the Number 2, seen here, which used 120 film, and the slightly larger Number 2A, which used 116 film. Both came in five different colors, and featured the same art deco style design.
Kodak Baby Brownie circa 1934
Kodak Brownie Junior Six 20 circa 1934-1942
Univex AF (green) circa 1935
The Univex AF was made by the Universal Camera Corporation in New York City, who believed there should be more affordable cameras. The Univex AF came in various colors, and cost one dollar.
Bear Photo Special circa 1938
This is one of my favorite cameras from Patrick’s collection, because I love anything with the California bear. This particular camera was made by Ansco specifically for the Bear Photo Service in San Francisco.
Kodak Bantam circa 1938-1947
Kodak Baby Brownie Special circa 1939-1954
Argus C3 circa 1939-1966
This extremely popular Argus was nicknamed “The Brick” because of its shape and the fact it was very durable and reliable. I think the length of its production speaks to that.
Spartus Six-Twenty circa 1940s
Metro Cam circa 1940
Kodak Brownie Flash Six-20 circa 1940
Kodak Vigilant Junior Six-20 circa 1940-1948
Argoflex E circa 1940-1948
Kodak Brownie Reflex Sychro Model circa 1941-1952
Color-flex circa 1947
Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic circa 1947-1955
This style of Graflex was standard for photojournalists, as well as advanced hobbyists. This particular one was a gift from my dad to Patrick, and is said to have belonged to the Nevada State Police. If that is true, who knows what sort of photos it took! It appears to be in working order, however we have not gotten around to procuring film for it.
If you think you’re looking at a lightsaber hilt, you’re not wrong! The original lightsabers for Star Wars were built around the flash attachment from Graflex cameras.
Spartus Full-Vue circa 1948-1960
This particular camera features a body made of bakelite, and various sources note that if it is a bakelite body it was produced earlier in this wide time frame.