My twitter friend Maya and I recently had a brief exchange about old cameras, during which she mentioned a Kodak 1A she found recently--for $2! You can read about her camera and look at her beautiful photos of it here.
This reminded me of my very similar Kodak 3A, which my sisters gave me for Christmas in the 1970s. Not as beautiful or complete as Maya's 1A, I have nonetheless carried it around through countless moves because it is old and amazing.
See the little raised bump in the center of this next photo? The leather has worn off a little and shows an orange-y color underneath. (And gee, could I have maybe wiped the dust off before taking the picture? Sorry about that.)
When you press on that little button, the camera opens up and the bellows lens can be extended.
I love the Gothic lettering of the name Kodak. That metal tab also props the camera up like a little built-in tabletop tripod.
Until I read Maya's post, I didn't know about the autographic feature of this camera--mine no longer has its stylus. I also never seriously entertained the idea of converting it for use with 120 film. I'm an impatient sort and remember too well the frustration of waiting to develop and print film.
But do I appreciate that all this can be done? Absolutely. Even more do I love the ease with which this type of information now flows around. In the mid '70s, this camera was simply a curio, and I vividly recall combing through the big green periodical files at the library in a fruitless search for any information at all about it.
Now I can type its name and instantly learn when it was in production, look at images of different versions, bid on one online, even download an original manual. Or simply open my twitter feed and have a conversation about it. How amazing is that?