Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

No 1 Brownie Camera

Eastman Kodak Company

Name: No 1 Brownie Camera
Manufacturer: Eastman Kodak Co.
Country of Origin: USA
Construction: Simple construction of card with a wooden film carrier and detachable winder key. The back is hinged at the lower edge.

The camera has no integral viewfinder but has V sighting lines marked on the top face. An optional clip-on viewfinder was available as an accessory.

Production Period: October 1901 - 1916

This is identical to the later version of the original Brownie camera, but was renamed to become the No 1 Brownie Camera in 1901 upon the introduction of the No 2 Brownie Camera.

Coe states that approximately 500,000 of these cameras were produced.

Plate / Film Size: 117 rollfilm (2¼" x 2¼")
Lens: Meniscus
Shutter: Rotary
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Date of this Example: 1900
Serial Number: None
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 21

<Photographs to be added>


The No 1 Brownie Camera consists of a simple box constructed of cardboard with wooden film carrier, detachable winder and optional viewfinder.

This particular example was picked up many years ago in a street market in Greenwich, London. The seller believed it to be broken as it made a loud rattling noise when picked up. I paid the extortionate sum of 50 pence for it. And the rattle? This turned out to be the detachable winder key and optional viewfinder floating around inside the back of the camera!


The No 1 Camera (or the original in this hinged form) turn up from time to time. Check to make sure that the detachable winder key is present - it is quite common for this to be lost.

The later version of the original Brownie and early models of the No 1 Brownie Camera (to 1904) can be distinguished by virtue of having a smooth leather effect covering rather than one with a noticeable grain pattern (as in this example).