The 'Brownie' - the Camera that photographed the 20th century

Brownie B:c.1924-1931 model. Brownie Flash B: 1957-1959
Up until 1900, photography was a hobby for the rich or a profession for the very few.
Made out of brass and wood, cameras were expensive, bulky and very awkward to carry. Pictures were shot onto large plates of glass or metal with the people being photographed having to pose and stand still for what seemed like an eternity.

It was a small robust handheld cardboard box camera made by the US company Kodak that sold for one dollar in 1900 which revolutionized photography and made it available to the masses. 
Mary Brannelly with a Brownie camera, 1950, Belleville, Athenry, co. Galway, Ireland
Taken a photo was simplified.  All the user had to do was to point the camera in the right direction, use its small viewfinder to centre onto the subject matter and pull or click a protruding switch. The snapshot was born. The completed film could be taken out of its camera box and sent off for development and printing to chemists and other retail stores.

Kodak was a film making company. The inexpensive Brownie created a huge demand for their films by giving the people the means to take pictures again and again when the mood or opportunity suited.

Designed by Frank Brownell, the little portable Brownie allowed ordinary people all over the world for the first time to capture on film the everyday moments in their lives.  The family photo album soon followed. Even children became users such was its ease-of-use.  Produced by Kodak for over eight decades, the Brownie can be said to have captured more of the 20th century than any other kind of camera.

The most popular version of the Brownie was the No.2 Brownie. Introduced in 1902 it continued to be  manufactured in some form until the late 1950s.

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