Grandma’s Kodak Brownie Camera

November 6, 2011 § 5 Comments

Elsie Jackson's Kodak Brownie

Elsie Jackson's Kodak Brownie camera

The Kodak Brownie camera was introduced in the year 1900 at a price of one dollar in the United States, a price that would equate to about $26 today. The Brownie was extremely popular due to its low price, ease of use, and portability. It was a simple no frills box camera that sold by the millions.

My Grandma, Elsie Jackson, owned a Kodak Brownie Junior six-20 with an art deco front face. This model was manufactured between the years of 1934 and 1942. I’m pretty sure my grandparents were married in 1934 so this camera may have been a wedding present. I’m speculating and would love to know the real story of how she obtained it.

Unmodified snapshot of Leonard and Elsie Jackson 1961

Leonard and Elsie Jackson 1961

Grandma took many pictures with her Brownie over the years. Most of them were taken from her front porch. The porch gave her good lighting as the Brownie didn’t have the capability of using a flash bulb. Most of her pictures were static portraits of family and friends. She also took pictures of new cars, tractors and motorcycles that her family had acquired. Occasionally she took pictures of interesting things that were happening outside, usually from the perspective of the porch. Grandma kept her Brownie on a shelf, in the closet by the front door, so she always knew where it was when she wanted to take a picture.

I remember Grandma taking pictures with her Brownie as late as the 1970’s. I don’t know if she got a different camera after that or if she lost interest in photography but there are fewer pictures in her remaining photo albums after that decade.

Grandma took her photography seriously. She meticulously set up and framed her shots to make sure the final picture would turn out well. The Brownie used film that only offered eight exposures. I will never forget the look of satisfaction she had when she took a picture. She was documenting her life and that pleased her.

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