Have you Seen?

Brownie Camera
SHS Collection

Have you seen the historical society’s collection of cameras, in particular the Brownie? When you next aim your smartphone at a glorious sunset or snap a selfie, give thanks to George Eastman. In 1900 his company, Eastman Kodak, introduced the Brownie, a low-priced, hand-held, point-and-shoot camera simple enough for children to use.
Designed by Frank Brownell, the camera was a simple black rectangular cardboard box covered in leatherette. To take a photo or “snapshot,” one popped in a film cartridge, closed the door, held the camera at waist height, aimed by looking through the viewfinder at the top, then turned a switch. The camera was very affordable, priced at $1 each. A six-exposure film cartridge was 15 cents. For an extra 10 cents per photo, plus 40 cents for developing and postage, the film could be sent to Kodak for developing. The Brownie gave everyone an affordable, accessible way to document important moments.

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