Kodak - No. 2 Autographic Brownie
In 1914 George Eastman bought the rights to a method of writing on film, from his friend (and the inventor of the process) Henry J Gaisman and thus the Kodak Autographic system was introduced to the photographic world. The autographic system allowed the user to write information directly onto the film, using a stylus supplied with the camera, through a specially designed writing window on the camera back. The Autographic film instead of having the usual thick opaque backing paper, was wound with a sheet of carbon paper and thin red backing paper. Pressure of the stylus on the backing paper transferred the carbon to the red paper and formed an image on the carbon paper. Light passing through the lines of the image on the carbon paper caused the image to be recorded onto the film. By this means the photographer could record, for example, information regarding the photographic subject, the date and time etc.
During the period 1914 until the 1930s Kodak marketed several cameras with the autographic feature and the No 2 Autographic Brownie, the subject of this technical description, is one of the cameras from that period.
The No2 Autographic Brownie is a folding camera designed originally to use autographic film in 120 size. It can of course also use conventional 120 film. This particular camera is fitted with a meniscus lens, located behind the shutter and diaphragm. Three focusing index marks are provided of the lens bed, marked 100 feet "fixed" and 8 feet. Presumably the intermediate setting is suitable for all distances at a small aperture setting. The maximum aperture is f7.7 and is adjustable to f32 by means of a quadrant lever below the lens fitting. The aperture stops are not marked as "f" numbers; instead they are numbered 1 to 4 each with an accompanying subject description viz.: "Near View/Portrait" (F7.7), "Average View", "Distant View" and "Clouds/Marine" (f32). The shutter is a Kodak Ball Bearing type and has speed settings of 1/25, 1/50, B and T. The shutter is operated by depressing a lever mounted on the lens rim.
A reflecting prism viewfinder, for framing the photographs, is fitted to the top of the lens panel. The prism can be moved through 90 degrees to accommodate both portrait and landscape formats. A hinged supporting leg for use when making time exposures, is attached to the front of the lens bed.
The camera body is manufactured from pressed and stamped metal and covered with imitation leather. The camera front which carries the lens and shutter, is attached to the body by leather folding bellows, and in use, extends from the body on rails mounted on the folding baseboard. The camera is opened for use by pulling out the baseboard support leg, which also acts as a latch for the camera front. This action causes the baseboard to fall forward, supported from the body by two quadrant struts, and lock into place. The lens panel can then be moved into place along the rails, by pressing and pulling on a knob at the base of the lens panel. The lens panel is returned to its folded position by reversing the procedure. Finally the camera is closed by pushing gently on each side strut which unlocks the baseboard and allows it to fold back to its closed position. Access to the film chamber is achieved by sliding a latch located at the bottom of the folded baseboard, which unlocks the entire lens, bellows and baseboard unit from the body.The unit is removed completely leaving the back shell into which the film is loaded. The film is advanced by means of a folding key winder and frame counting is observed through a red window in the camera back.The autographic window is located in the camera back towards the top and is covered by a hinged flap which also serves to store the stylus.To use the autographic feature the window flap is opened, the stylus removed, the annotation on the film is made and exposed for a few seconds, before closing the flap and replacing the stylus into its holder. Tripod bushes are fitted to one side of the camera and to the baseboard to accommodate the two picture orientations. A carrying strap on which the camera name is embossed is fixed to one side of the camera.
The approximate camera dimensions (L x H x D) are 165 x 84 x 32 (closed) 130 (open) mm and it weighs 537 g.