The Folding Pocket Kodak is one of the milestone cameras in my collection. When it was introduced in August of 1897 it was one of the first really pocketable cameras with a acceptable (for snapshooters) picture size. It also was a very succesful camera, 200.000 being sold until its end in April 1915. The camera in the video is the rare original model. There are many transitional models between this original one and the No. 1 Folding Pocked Kodak that replaced the Folding Pocket Kodak in April 1899.
Another reason to call it a milestone is that it is the first of a long range of other, but similar models: No. 0, No. 1, No. 1A, No. 2, No. 3, No. 3A, No. 4, No. 4A Folding Pocket Kodaks, the Autographic versions of many of these, and all kind of copies by competing manufacturers. Someone has called it the Adam of the folding pocket camera.
The camera took 12 pictures with a size of 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inch (5,5 x 8 cm) on one daylight loading spool. It cost $ 10.
An important part of its design is the construction of the struts. Many folding cameras had to be extended by the photographer by pulling out the lenspanel on a rail on the baseboard. To get a sharp focused image, the lenspanel had to be extended to an exact point. A slight mistake resulted in unsharp pictures. The struts of the Folding Pocket Kodak extended themselves with the help of two springs, once pulled out an inch or so. The mechanism stopped at exactly the needed distance. In the patent (610.153) this is described in detail. Why is this so important? The camera was intended for amateur photographers, who didn't want to bother with technical details, but just wanted to have a reliable camera at hand when they saw something worth taking a picture of. The small (17 x 9 x 4 cm) camera with its foolproof struts fitted well into their pocket or handbag and was just the ideal instrument for these snapshooters.
Original photo made with a Folding Pocket Kodak in the Philippines in 1898.
Unopened box of film for the Folding Pocket Kodak.
Instruction booklet for the original version of the Folding Pocket Kodak.