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09-18-2021, 07:02 PM - 20 Likes   #1
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102 years old camera with a surprise!

Hello,

You may say I kind of like old cameras. Yeah, that would be an understatement.
No surprise my favorite cameras are Asahi and Pentax. But I also have a soft spot for Kodak cameras, especially vintage stuff.
Sometimes I see items on eBay with a starting bid of $1 and I bid maybe $1 or $2 and forget about it. A week later, I get a notification I won the item. Not very common but it happens.
That was the case on this. Won the auction for $1 (plus $8 for shipping )
The description simply said vintage Kodak 2A Brownie camera and your average typical dining table pictures.
Well, it happens to be a No.2A Brownie Model B, with metal nameplate and no shutter guard. That makes it a 1918-1919 camera! (nameplate was added in 1918, shutter guard in 1920). That's a 102 years old! (at the moment I post this in 2021) Made with wood and cardboard parts as well as metal.
Looks dirty but complete.






So far so good. However...
When I opened it, I was surprised!

What seems to be the original booklet was inside! I'm sure the seller was not even aware.



June 1918! That is a 103 years old booklet!

The free subscription for the magazine says 30 days after purchase. I wonder if it can still be honored...

The booklet not only contains camera use instructions, but also development and printing! With plenty of details!

Less surprisingly, there was also an original 116 film spool inside


Many people make the mistake of incorrectly dating items from the patent date. The patent is from 1916. So you know it was made after that, but many items keep a patent date while still been in production for years.


So, it is in queue for a cleanup job. I have seen adapters to run or respool 120 film in 116 spools. When the time comes, I may try that. Would be nice to shoot with a 102+ years old camera...
What do you think?

Thanks,
Ismael

09-18-2021, 07:34 PM - 1 Like   #2
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that's too cool!! believe i have the same box but certainly not the surprise booklet!
09-18-2021, 07:38 PM   #3
dbs
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Hi Ismael.

Knowing nothing about these cameras .......
If you put film in it will it still work ? .....
Or has the booklet taken the space of the cameras guts !?
09-18-2021, 07:47 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dbs Quote
Hi Ismael.

Knowing nothing about these cameras .......
If you put film in it will it still work ? .....
Or has the booklet taken the space of the cameras guts !?
Hello,

The camera is complete and in working order. It has quite some empty space inside. It is very simple and will most certainly work. It uses 116 film which was introduced in 1899 and was produced until the 1980's. It can be tweaked to use current 120 film or even 35mm film. Can't say when but I would like to do a detailed video.

Thanks,
Ismael

09-18-2021, 07:55 PM - 1 Like   #5
dbs
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Hi Ismael

That's good ......

( i said I know nothing ........ and well .. yes )

Look forward to the video




Dave
09-18-2021, 08:06 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Hello,

The camera is complete and in working order. It has quite some empty space inside. It is very simple and will most certainly work. It uses 116 film which was introduced in 1899 and was produced until the 1980's. It can be tweaked to use current 120 film or even 35mm film. Can't say when but I would like to do a detailed video.

Thanks,
Ismael
Very cool acquisition! You might find something like this helpful...

116 to 120 film spool camera adapter Set (4pcs) | eBay


Steve
09-18-2021, 08:06 PM   #7
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Very cool. I'm guessing the plastic film spool isn't from 1918?

09-18-2021, 08:31 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Hello,

Thanks Steve! I recently ordered from them some 3D printed 620 spools for yet another project. Stay tuned

This 116 spool is all metal. I don't think I've ever seen a plastic 116 original spool. I think early ones were actually wood.

Thanks,
09-18-2021, 09:15 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Awesome, take your time, it has waited a century for you. I'm looking forward to the pics you take with it, and of course your clean up.
09-18-2021, 10:11 PM - 3 Likes   #10
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As I normally joke with my friend Ismael... now he just needs to find the Flintstone's Polarock Camera and his collection will be complete. Looking forward to see this oldie in action.
09-19-2021, 04:42 AM - 1 Like   #11
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You mean there was no film in it ? What a rip-off !
09-19-2021, 04:55 AM - 1 Like   #12
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That is in very good condition. Owner obviously cared enough to keep the instructions.
09-19-2021, 09:40 AM - 1 Like   #13
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What a fantastic example, and the booklet really completes it! The condition is amazing - especially the metalwork, which is often quite badly corroded - but not so in this case. Nice
09-19-2021, 11:06 AM - 6 Likes   #14
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Hello,

I can't believe how excited I am with this rather simple and "inexpensive" camera. I have older cameras than this but for some reason this one is just talking to me. Can't stop thinking this is over 100 years old.
With the rigor of an archeologist (I'm not an archeologist but I guess they are very rigorous in their work) and to some extent, fear of destroying history, I very Very VERY carefully worked on this. Every screw was catalogued so they would go in exactly the exact same position they came out from. Every movement was carefully planned like if I was working with explosives
It feels like if someone gave me a million dollar car to wash. No pressure.

The camera has 2 viewfinders: One for landscape and one for portrait orientation.
The century old mirrors and viewfinder glass pieces were carefully removed and carefully cleaned. I suspect this is the first time in a century they are cleaned from the inside. Not surprisingly, the mirrors have deteriorated a bit over a century. Heck! I'm half a century and quite deteriorated already!
The mechanisms are in perfect working order. I just brushed the inside clean and very slightly oiled the pivot points to be on the safe side, so somebody can still use it 100 years from now.



The viewfinder lenses were also cleaned. Here you can see I already cleaned the lower one while the top one was still untouched.


Carefully went back together and the viewfinders are bright and nice! They actually look better than in these pictures.
Landscape


Portrait


The meniscus taking lens (the star of the show) was carefully cleaned in place.
This is how it looks from the inside now:


and looking from the front towards some trees


Now to carefully continue the rest of the cleanup.

Thanks,
Ismael

P.S. How many times did I type the word carefully?
09-21-2021, 10:42 AM - 3 Likes   #15
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Hello,

This camera has an early system of aperture control. It has a sliding bar in front of the lens with 3 openings, effectively adjusting aperture. I have seen conflicting references online about these been f11, f16 and f22 or f16, f22 and f32
So I took my own measurements and made the confusion even bigger. According to my own measurements, (focal length divided by aperture opening) I got around f14, f18 and f28 which are all between the 2 references.
But to be fair, my measurements are very rough and this requires pinpoint accuracy.
With a single "instantaneous" shutter speed of about 1/50, it kind of follows Sunny 16 rule wide open considering the film available at the time was around 50 ISO. The smaller apertures would be useful in long exposures.




Bottom line, I'm just having fun with a century old camera.
Just to be very clear: I do have all intentions to shoot a roll with it.

Thanks,
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