Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

No 2 Brownie Camera (UK Model)

Kodak Limited

Name: No 2 Brownie (Model F)
Manufacturer: Kodak Ltd
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Construction: A basic box camera of metal construction, with a textured leatherette covering. While based on the same basic aluminium body shell as the US model, the UK model has a number of differences. The most noticeable is that the metal surround to the front face is always in black enamel on the UK models while the US models are painted to match the colour used for the covering. The colours used are also quite different to those in the US.
The UK models were made in a number of colours: black, blue, green, brown, red, claret, grey.
A silver model was introduced in 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee.
The rarest is a version produced in 1930 for sale over the Christmas season, whose covering has a geometric Modernist' pattern.
Plate / Film Size: 120 rollfilm
Lens: Meniscus
Shutter: Simple rotary shutter
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Production Period: 1928 - 1935

The No 2 Brownie box camera was made in the UK by Kodak Ltd at the factory in Harrow from 1928 through to 1935. While the cameras were made in large numbers, some of the colours are harder to find than others. In my experience the scarcity of the UK models runs in the following order (most common to least):

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There are a number of small variations in design that may be encountered. The winder can take the form either of a key or a knob (from 1931 according to Coe [4]). The front may be plain but 1931 models have double rectangular lines as used on the earlier models of the No 2 Brownie.

Model / Variant: Blue
Date of this Example: 1931
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [x]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 1

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Description

This blue coloured Kodak No 2 Brownie box camera has the round winder knob, so it was made sometime between 1931 and 1933 according to Coe. However it also has the double rectangular line decoration rather than a plain finish, so this dates it to 1931.

This camera hints at three common problems found with these cameras. The covering has shrunk slightly so it appears to be retreat away from the edges, exposing some of the underlying aluminium carcass. There is also minor corrosion on the black paintwork, but in display condition. There is also some bubbling to the surface of the leatherette, which appears to be due to the white glue used to fix the covering to the camera body changing over time and hardening and / or perhaps it might indicate some corrosion on the surface of the underlying aluminium.

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Model / Variant: Brown
Date of this Example: c1930
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [x]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 2

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Description

Kodak No 2 Brownie box camera in brown colour with a winder key, so it was made between 1929 and 1931. The brown camera often seems to turn up in better condition than some of the other colours for some reason.

Again, the covering has shrunk back a little from the rear cover, exposing the underlying aluminium body, but it still displays well.

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Model / Variant: Green
Date of this Example:  
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [x]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 117

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Description

Green Kodak No 2 Brownie box camera. Model with winder key rather than knob, so this was made between 1929 and 1931.

Limited shrinkage of leather covering at rear of camera. The black paintwork is in very good order. Handle intact. Some bubbling under surface, but not very pronounced.

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Model / Variant: Claret
Date of this Example: c1932
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [x]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 31

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Description

Claret coloured Kodak No 2 Brownie box camera in good order. Some tarnishing to clip on end flap. This example has the round winder knob and was therefore manufactured between 1931 and 1933.

The camera came complete with:

Kodak Portrait Attachment 1 (in original EKC tin, with instructions)
Kodak Sky Filter 1 (in original Kodak Ltd tin, with instructions)

It also came with the original instructions marked with the owners name - Picture-making with the Nos. 2 and 2A "Brownies". It has an order form at back for the magazine, which has a date field which is prefixed "192 ..."

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Model / Variant: Red
Date of this Example: c1932
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 387

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Description

Red coloured Kodak No 2 Brownie box camera in good order, with little evidence of surface bubbling. The metalwork is also in good condition. The only thing that lets it down is that part of the red covering has been torn away along the top right edge of the front.

Round winder knob (and therefore manufactured between 1931 and 1933).

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Model / Variant: Grey
Date of this Example: c1932
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 282

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Description

Grey Kodak No 2 Brownie box camera in very good order, although it needs a clean to show colour at its best. Winder key (hence manufactured between 1931 and 1933). Metalwork bright, and black enamelled metal work in very good order with no obvious sign of corrosion or paint loss.

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Model / Variant: Silver
Date of this Example: 1935
Serial Number: None
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [ ]
  • Hard to Find [x]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 106

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Description

Silver Kodak No 2 Brownie box camera made to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935.

Limited shrinkage of leather covering at rear of camera, revealing the underlying aluminium shell. Some bubbling on surface on top and sides. Black paintwork in good order. Metal clip on the door is lightly tarnished. Handle intact.

Notes

I do not normally collect series of cameras, but it was interesting in this case to put the complete set of colours together as a set to show the colour variations that exist and on the way also show some of the other design variations that can be found.

Kodak Ltd also made the No 2A variant that uses the larger 116 film (image size 2 x 4 on 116 as opposed to 2 x 3 on 120 film). This too was produced in a set of colours as well as black, but limited to blue, brown, claret and green. These were made from 1930 to 1936, although the black was discontinued in 1935 (according to Coe [4]). The No 2A coloured UK variants turn up less frequently than the No 2 Brownie.

For comparison, see also the page dedicated to the coloured versions of the US Kodak No 2A Brownie. Compare also with the No 2 Portrait Brownie box camera that also appeared in many of the same colours.

The development of this box camera through earlier models from its introduction in 1901 is illustrated on the No 2 Brownie page.