Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment

Vanity Kodak Camera

Eastman Kodak Company

Name: Vanity Kodak / Vest Pocket Series III
Type: Folding (Rollfilm)
Manufacturer: Eastman Kodak Company
Country of Origin: US
Construction: The Vanity Kodak is based upon the Vest Pocket Kodak Series III camera, a conventional vertical format folding camera where the lens standard is pulled out on a track fixed to the baseboard. Autographic back with stylus held in clip on left side of lens standard. Brilliant finder at top right of lens standard. Fine vernier screw control for focus.
Plate / Film Size: 127 rollfilm (autographic) for pictures 1⅝" x 2"
Lens: Kodak Anastigmatic f6.3
Shutter: Diomatic
Movements: None
Dimensions (w x h x l):  
Production Period: 1928 - 1933

The Vanity Kodak was made in a set of colours, in common with many other models in the late 1920s and early 1930s, which were given particular names as part of the marketing approach. This particular camera was available in blue (Bluebird), brown (Jenny Wren), green (Cockatoo), grey (Sea Gull) & red (Redbreast). The camera itself certainly looks attractive in its coloured leatherette finish, but the design of the outer box is also a key feature (and sadly one that has often been discarded).

While the camera was available with its matching case, a particularly prized variant is the Vanity Kodak Ensemble which includes matching make-up (powder compact, lipstick), with a mirror built into the lid of the slightly larger clam case.

Model / Variant: Brown
Date of this Example: c1931
Serial Number: Serial 73445, located on the rear of the support stand
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 368

<Photographs to be added>

Description

Brown version of the Vanity Kodak folding camera ("Jenny Wren") with matching case and instructions.

This example has black replacement bellows, matching clam-shell case, original box & instructions. The camera body and enamelled paintwork is in good order.

Clam shell case with gold silk lining in good order, although the lining has faded. The restraining tie has broken. Original sales carton in a golden yellow colour, flecked with green and black. This has split down one edge.

Original instructions with gold cover, which are in very good order.

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Model / Variant: Blue
Date of this Example: c1931
Serial Number: Serial 74155 on reverse of support stand
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 190

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Description

Blue version of the Vanity Kodak ("Bluebird") with original bellows and matching clam-shell case. I am unsure in fact whether this is the blue or green colour - need to see the other to be sure! Some minor marks on the edges of the casing and some minor marks on the paintwork. Gold lining on the leather is in good condition. The autographic stylus is missing.

Clam shell case with pink silk lining in good order, although the lining has faded. Some corner damage. Also has canvas case, but unlikely to be original.

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Model / Variant: Red
Date of this Example: c1931
Serial Number: Serial 97018 on reverse of support stand
Availability:
  • Common [ ]
  • Uncommon [x]
  • Hard to Find [ ]
  • Scarce [ ]
Inventory Number: 428

<Photographs to be added>

Description

Red version of the Vanity Kodak folding camera ("Redbreast") with replacement but red coloured bellows and matching clam-shell case. Some minor marks on edges of casing and some minor marks on the paintwork. The gold lining on the body is in good condition. The autographic stylus is present.

Clam shell case with pink/orange silk lining in good order, although the lining has faded. Some corner damage.

Notes

The Vest Pocket Series III cameras do turn up from time to time in the UK. Two of the three shown here were purchased in the UK; the third came from the US.

The condition of the camera can vary. In particular, it is quite common to find that the original matching bellows have been replaced with black bellows, although sometimes other coloured bellows may have been employed (as with the red example on this page).