Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Flat Folding Kodak

Kodak Limited

Name: Flat Folding Kodak
Manufacturer: Eastman Kodak but for sale by Kodak Ltd.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: Black morocco covering over a wooden body, brass fittings and rack and pinion focussing. The camera has an integral roll holder assembly built onto the back panel to hold the darkroom loaded 48 exposure film.
Production Period: 1895 - 1896

 

Plate / Film Size: 48 exposure dark room loaded (4" x 5")
Lens: Original Kodet style barrel lens has been removed and replaced with a 4 x 5 Rapid Rectilinear in a Unicum shutter.
Shutter: It should have a Kodet shutter built into the lens panel but this has been removed.
Movements:  
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: TBD
Serial Number: None found on external body.
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [x]
Inventory Number: 364

<Photographs to be added>

Description

The Flat Folding Kodak Camera is a very scarce camera (only 400 were made and only a few examples are known to exist in collections around the world) - which is why I bought it, despite its shortcomings, which are many! The case and leather covering are in good order, with only one obvious sign of repair on the back.

The original Kodet barrel lens has been lost and replaced by a Unicum shutter with a 4 x 5 RR lens. The built-in shutter appears to have been at least partially dismantled as there are several slots on the left edge that have been filled with wood filler.

The original viewfinder has been lost, with its mounting screw. The bellows have long since been replaced with black leather bellows, perhaps from a Cartridge Kodak No 4 or similar. The back has been fixed down with screws and has been adapted (DIY) for plates by mounting a plate holder on the back, which has then had a hole cut in it of course! The camera came with a viewing screen and film pack holder. The focussing scale has been moved back on the baseboard to compensate.

Flat Folding Kodak Advert The advert at left for the Flat Folding Kodak camera was published in the Photographic News, dated 21 August 1895.

Click on the thumbnail image to open a larger version in a new window.

It describes the camera as "The Cyclist and Tourist's Comrade".

The line drawing illustrates the style of lens and finder that should be fitted to the lens and the heavier pleated (red) bellows, similar to those found on other contemporary cameras such as the satchel style Folding Kodaks.

Notes

The lens/shutter needs to be replaced and a contemporary viewfinder located. If done, then it would be worth having square section red bellows made for it. It would then at least look about right.

This is a major restoration project!

An initial reaction to the major changes made to this camera is that it is such a shame that it was ever tampered with. Bear in mind though that had these adaptations not been made by a previous owner then it is quite likely that this would have been thrown out long ago. At least now there is a chance to learn something fro it and a (feint) possibility that it might over time be restored to its former state.