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You push the button… we do the rest.

March 31st, 2014

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
The other day my three-year-old was shooting video of his stuffed animals with his big sister’s iPad, and a wave of nostalgia crashed over me. I suddenly realized my kids will probably never get to experience joy of film photography. They’ll never understand the thrill of loading a fresh roll into the back of a camera. They’ll never feel those mechanical clicks and vibrations of the film advancing to the next frame. And they’ll never know the excitement of getting a stack of pictures back from the developer.

How would I even explain this antique technology to them? I know, I’ll Google it. Hey what do you know, here’s an old manual for the Kodak Brownie Camera (No. 2)…

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Is an instruction manual really necessary? Remember the catchy slogan, “You push the button, we do the rest.” This should be a breeze.

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Alright, let’s load this baby up and see what she can do.

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
So far so good.

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
The roller what?

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Oh sh*t… total failure will result? Better pay attention here…

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Did it come with duplex paper?

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Ok, I think we’re ready now…

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Stop? Have we even started?

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Ok, aim… I can aim, no problem.

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Holy damn, this is getting wordy

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
I don’t even know what that is.

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Is this going to require math? COME ON!

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
How can this thing NOT have a portrait setting?

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]

Finally!

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]
Wait, I can’t see my pictures yet?

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]

Are you kidding me with this?

Picture taking with the Brownie camera no. 2. Published 1918 by Canadian Kodak Co. [SOURCE: OpenLibrary.org]

And that’s not all. There are 32 more pages on developing your film.

So kids, are you ready to trade in your iPhones yet? You know, for the price the Brownie really can’t be beat. It was first introduced in 1900 for $1.

See the entire manual here external link

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 7:45 am and is filed under Rochester History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “You push the button… we do the rest.”

  1. RochNetGuy says:

    Holy Kodak! It makes more sense now why when I worked for Kodak, things were always so complex and bloated with procedure. The amount of documentation put into this one camera, would to this day actually drive me away from suggesting it to a friend.

    When it first came for sale for $1 though, people must have had a true yearning for it, much like those who had Commodore 64’s that actually took the time to write code for it to run programs.

    What a long way we have come though, where taking a photo is as quick as holding your smart phone above your head, camera lens facing back at you, and then pressing the button for a quick “selfie”.

    Upload to Facebook? Why sure! Times have absolutely changed. Life is so far simplified, we really don’t have to use our brains anymore.

    In fact, reading those instructions made my clearly couch potato head hurt! There’s got to be a YouTube video of the loading process somewhere – oh wait there is: http://youtu.be/48brodrDrB4

    And another interesting site: http://www.brownie-camera.com/

  2. Thanks for those links! And for anyone born after 1988, here’s another good video that explains film photography to modern kids… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSrAgJ17nyI

  3. Christopher Brandt says:

    Half of that 100 cents must of went to printing the manual…jeez. It would be interesting to have a photography class at RIT that started with learning how to use a Brownie and then executing a photo project with it.


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