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No. 2 Kodak (1889)

The No. 2 Kodak is closely related to the first Kodak box, its only difference being its larger size.

The camera took round pictures of 3.5 inch diameter (9 cm) on a darkroom loaded spool for 60 or 100 exposures. Like the original (and No. 1 Kodak) it has a fixed focus lens. There are no settings the photographer had to bother with if taking ordinary outdoor pictures, so the No. 2 Kodak is eminently suited for the snapshooter. He or she only had to aim it, with the help of a little reflecting finder, pull the cord to set the shutter, press the button to take the snap and wind the key to advance the film. The larger sized relatives, the No. 3 Kodak and No. 4 Kodak, were a bit more difficult because they had a wheel to set the proper distance with. This could be a source for mistakes.

In the video you can see the camera with the roll holder taken out. The feed and take up spools are located behind the plane of focus, which makes the camera about 1/3 longer than later cameras that were built with the spools in front of the plane of focus. See the page on the Boston Bull's-Eye for more information about this.

I have also opened the front door to show the shutter, lens and stops. As I said, the camera could be used by people without any technical knowlegde to take outdoor snaps. However, it did have a few setting like two smaller stops and time exposure. The smaller stops were used if time exposures were taken.

The camera was not really cheap, costing $ 32.50, loaded with a 60 exposure film and including a leather case. For this amount a cowboy, for example, had to work a whole month.

The No. 2 Kodak was produced from October 1889 until 1897. During the later years there were a number of cheaper, smaller and even more easy to use alternatives. The Boston Bull's-Eye (1892-1895) for instance did only cost $ 7 or $ 8, was much smaller and daylight loading, and took pictures of 3.5 inch square or circular ones of 3.5 inch diameter.
The No. 2 Kodak was nevertheless by far the most popular of the first generation of Kodak boxcameras. More than 19000 were sold.

Horse bath, New Mexico, April 25, 1890. Photo taken with a No. 2 Kodak.

 

 

 

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