by Dr. Lori Verderame
The photography process from the late 1830s to the 1880s was cumbersome, costly, and difficult. George Eastman was responsible for putting cameras into the hands of consumers and with innovations in cameras, film, and processing, the Eastman Kodak company made picture taking easy.
Using dry plates instead of wet plates, Eastman changed the way images were developed. He invented an emulsion coating machine that allowed a mass production of dry photographic plates in his Rochester, NY factory. In 1889, the first roll of transparent film was marketed which encouraged the invention of Thomas Edison’s motion picture camera. Shortly thereafter, the daylight loading camera was introduced which meant that people did not have to load film into a camera in a darkroom.
Values for Kodak cameras
In 1895, the Kodak pocket camera using roll film was introduced. By 1900, the famous Brownie camera took to the market and gave everyone, even children, an opportunity to take photos inexpensively. The famous Brownie sold for $1 and the film roll only cost 15 cents. Developing machines to process roll film without a darkroom came shortly thereafter and non-curling film was the standard until circa 1930.
Some vintage Kodak cameras like the red hawkeye folding camera no. 2 sell today for $50-$75. Cameras from circa 1920-30 like Kodak’s beau brownie 2A box camera trade for $130-$150 each. An Eastman View Camera with 8 x 10 inches large format film brings $300-$500 from vintage camera collectors.
In 1932, George Eastman died. Eastman’s estate was left to the University of Rochester. Today, Eastman’s home is a public museum which houses the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.
In 1932, the first 8 mm amateur motion-picture film, cameras, and projectors were introduced. Kodachrome film was introduced in 1935 and Kodacolor film which was the first color negative film was on the market in 1942.
In 1963, the line of Kodak Instamatic cameras, featuring easy-to-use cartridge-loading film, was new to the market. Photographers could take pictures without changing flashbulbs. More than 50 million Instamatic cameras were produced by 1970. Vintage instamatic camera are still of interest with camera hobbyists and sell for $10-$25 each.
Get an online appraisal of your Kodak camera from Dr. Lori.