The Original 1888 Kodak Camera With Barrel Shutter * Eastman Dry Plate Co. * The 1st Kodak
No Sales Tax If Shipped Outside North Carolina.
Here’s an 1888 Kodak camera — the original Kodak camera — complete with its leather carrying case and wood shipping box.
Invented by George Eastman, “The Kodak” was designed to make photography accessible to everyone, not just enthusiasts who had the patience and skills to deal with handling, developing and printing glass plates covered with light-sensitive emulsion. The point-and-shoot Kodak sold for $25 and came pre-loaded with a long strip of roll film. Once the film had been exposed — 100 exposures, each 2 1/2″ in diameter — the camera was shipped back to the factory in Rochester NY, where for $10 the film was processed and the photographs were printed. The camera was then returned to the owner with a fresh roll of film inside, and the cycle began again.
As you can see in the photographs, the condition of this Kodak is exceptional. The carrying case is missing one exterior clasp, but it is otherwise complete — with good stitching and good leather — and the upper flap is still attached at the hinge. The box has a sliver of wood missing along the upper lip in the left corner, but the wood is otherwise in good shape, and the printing on the front label is prominent. The serial number on the side of the wood box matches the serial number blind stamped into the leather on the back of the camera.
The camera itself is clean and complete, right down to the original felt lens cover and the tulip-shaped pull on the end of the shutter- cocking string. Barrel shutter is in excellent condition, and the cocking and shutter springs are both intact and resilient. Shutter button, when depressed, releases the cylindrical shutter flap. The hemispheric lead weight is still secured to the center shaft, the shutter cocks as the string is gently pulled, shifting the position of the shutter flap, and the mechanism can likely be fully cocked and fired, but you would frankly be misguided to attempt to do so, as the shutter-cocking string, now more than 130 years old, is understandably quite fragile. Original leather covering on the camera’s body has scattered minor marks on all sides, but no damaged or distressed areas. You seldom find leather-clad cameras of this vintage in such nice shape.
A wonderful, historic camera whose roll film technology was, at the time of its release, as disruptive as it was transformational.