James's Camera Collection: Kodak No 2A Brownie Model B

Kodak No 2A Brownie Model B USA Other Canon Cameras Box cameras
Kodak No 2A Brownie Model B
Film type: Roll film size 116 (2 ½ x 4 ¼ inches)
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1907 - 1933
Approx. original price: $6.75 (1940)
Approx. street value: very low

The Number 2A actually stands for the film size, not when it was introduced. Kodak came up with a numeric designation for sizing its early cameras: the larger the number, the larger the film (and image). And of course to make things interesting, they used a different set for their Brownie cameras:

KodakBrownieSize (inches)
001 5/8 x 2 ½
122 ¼ x 3 ¼
1A2A2 ½ x 4 ¼
2C2C2 7/8 x 4 7/8
333 ¼ x 4 ¼
3A3A3 ¼ x 5 ½
44 x 5
4A4 ¼ x 6 ½
55 x 7

Happily they gave up on that and began using their film sizes as designations, because the film sizes weren't quite as confusing.

This is a pretty standard early Brownie. They were made to be as cheap as possible because they were aimed at children and the working class who wanted a camera but couldn't afford better; the equivalent of disposable cameras from the 1990s.

The Brownie box just doesn't change much for forty-some years. The early ones, like this one here, are leatherette-covered card, a meniscus lens, two shutter speeds ("instant" and "time") and two apertures. It's virtually the same camera as my later Brownie Target 616 except that the later models were all-metal.

Mine is in good shape. It's worn around the edges but it's all there and not beaten too badly. The shutter works nicely, a testament to the reliability of simple mechanics. It's almost impossible to date these things, but from the descriptions in my reference books, I put it between 1917 and 1918, when they added a metal plate on the back that my camera lacks.

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

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