1890s Cameras & Cycling

Kodak 1886-1900

By 1893 the price of cameras had become affordable. A Daylight Kodak was around $25. With its ‘daylight film’ this portable camera – 4″ by 5″ – required no developing equipment. The 1893 Columbian Exposition – the Chicago World’s Fair – was a dynamic opportunity for Kodak to illustrate the practical advantages of its new cameras. Thousands became cameras enthusiasts as a result, a majority of them women.

Public photography was still rare in 1893 and the etiquette of being photographed by a woman had not yet been established. Female photographers at the Fair were nicknamed ‘Kodak fiends.’

American inventor George Eastman (1854-1932) made many improvements in photography. His 1879 dry plate method was a vast improvement in the wet plate process photographic process. The Eastman Dry Plate Co was established in 1881, in Rochester, New York. Eastman and William Walker invented flexible roll film in 1882, eliminating the necessity of using cumbersome glass plates for photography. The company’s first simple, all-purpose, fixed-focus camera came out in 1888, and sold for $25.00; this was the first KODAK Camera.

It’s interesting to see the development of Kodak cameras through their adverts…

1886

‘THE CONTINUOUS WEB’

1888

KODAK BROCHURE

ANYBODY Who can wind a watch can use the KODAK CAMERA. It is a Magazine Camera, and will make 100 pictures without reloading. The operation of taking the picture is simply to point the Camera and press a button. The picture is taken instantaneously on a strip of sensitive film, which is moved into position by turning a key…

A DIVISION OF LABOUR. After the 100 pictures have been taken, the strip of film (which is wound on a spool) may be removed and sent by mail to the factory to have the picures finished, thus relieving the purchaser of all the trouble of finishing the pictures. Any amateur can finish his own  pictures, and any number of duplicates can be made of each picture. A spool of film to reload the camera for 100 pictures costs only Two Dollars…

NO TRIPOD IS REQUIRED. No focussing, no adjustment whatsoever. Rapid rectilinear lens. The KODAK will photograph anything, still or moving, in-doors or out…

A PICTURESQUE DIARY Of your trip to Europe, to the mountains or the sea-shore may be obtained without trouble with a KODAK CAMERA, that will be worth, in after years, a hundred times its cost.

A BEAUTIFUL INSTRUMENT. The KODAK is covered with dark Turkey morocco, nickel and lacquered brass trimmings, enclosed in a neat sole leather carrying case, with shoulder strap, and is about the size of a large field glass…

1888

OUTING MAGAZINE

1888

HARPER’S NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE

1889

‘YOU PRESS THE BUTTON, WE DO THE REST…’

1889

‘WHEN YOU COME BACK…’

1890

(FEMININE CHORUS) : Oh! isn’t it lovely! I must have a Kodak!

1891

‘THE KODAK COMBINES IN ONE COMPACT INSTRUMENT…’

1892

KING OF CAMERAS

1892

ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME

1892

DAYLIGHT KODAK

1893

‘THERE IS NO KODAK…’

1893

‘WHAT’S WORTH SEEING IS WORTH REMEMBERING’

1893

AT THE NORTH POLE

1894

‘HOME PHOTOGRAPHY IS EASY’

1894

‘THE AMATEUR CAMERIST BEGINS WELL’

1894

‘ABSOLUTELY UP TO DATE’

1894

‘THE CAMERA TO BUY’

1895

‘BIG PICTURES from A LITTLE CAMERA’

1896

‘THE POCKET KODAK’

1898

‘HOLIDAYS ARE KODAK DAYS’

1899

POCKET PHOTOGRAPHY

1900

THE KODAK CHRISTMAS