*Note - We have added a replica Original Kodak to our collection. It was made in England in 1988 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the first Kodak.

Our No. 1 Kodak Camera (1889 string set Kodak)

The first model was called simply "Kodak" now referred to as the "Original Kodak" and is a holy grail of Kodak collecting. We have a replica of that camera which is shown on that page linked above.

We also have an excellent example of the No. 1 Kodak camera. Despite its name this was the second camera to be called "Kodak" by The Eastman Company. The No. 1 was produced from 1889 to 1895 and differs from the original in several ways. The original had a barrel shutter which proved unreliable. The #1 had an improved sector shutter and an easily removable lens board while the original had a lens board held in by screws.

We found the No. 1 Kodak shown on the right at an advertising paper show. We were dumbfounded to find it among the trade cards and brochures.

Below is the back of the camera with the serial number 13301 and a patent date of May 5, 1885. This is not the patent date for the camera, which is 1888, but an earlier Eastman patent for the roller mechanism. To the right of the back is a top view of the camera showing the winding key, the brass knob on the string that sets the shutter, and a V engraved in the leather. The mark helped to line the camera up with the subject since it has no viewfinder. The camera is absolutely pristine and and the condition is beyond anything you could hope for in a 100+ year old camera!

In our collection we have the small booklet above, Memorandum of Kodak Exposures. Inside the front cover is a removable mailing label addressed to The Eastman Company, Rochester, N.Y. showing that Rochester was small enough and Eastman important enough to need no street address. The first page carries a Table of Distances. This was important with no viewfinder and no focus mechanism. The day we found the mounted Kodak image on the right we pictured a long ago Kodak owner trying out the instructions for photographing a cow by photographing a bull!

The lens used in the Original, No. 1, and the larger No. 2 did not produce an image that was sharp to the edges. Eastman found a quick answer to this problem. All of these cameras were equipped with a mask to crop the negative down to the sharp center. We keep our eyes peeled for the distinctive round image. The Original and No. 1 produced 2 1/2 inch (early ads said 2 5/8") diameter circular photographs while the No. 2 prints were 3 1/2 inches.

Pages showing a selection of our No. 1 Kodak and No. 2 Kodak photographs have been posted.


The Kodak Collection page
- The Original Kodak
- No. 1 Kodak Camera page <You are here
- Kodak #1 Photographs page
- Kodak #2 Photographs page

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Contact us at studio@brightbytes.com

**NOTE** All items on the Collection of Collections web site are in our private collection and are NOT for sale. From time to time duplicate items from our collection will be offered for sale in the Do You Remember This? shop on the GoAntiques cyber mall. Visit the Do You Remember This? inventory page for photographica and toaster related collectibles.

Please feel free to write us if you want to chat or share information about areas we collect but we will NOT give appraisals.

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Updated on 3/2008