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Observations of an Intern…

Kodak Bantam Flash Camera

Have you seen the selfie posts of our Castle Museum staff? We have many photos in our collection as well as a wide variety of photographic materials. The cameras in our collection are much different than the cell phone cameras you see our staff using in their selfies. One camera that has a home within our collection is a that was manufactured by Kodak following WWII.

In 1888, George Eastman designed a new flexible photographic film for the cameras he invented following the founding of his company with partner Henry Strong. In order to boost his profits, Eastman designed inexpensive cameras to reach a larger customer base. The first camera designed by Kodak was a leather-covered box-shaped camera with a circular lens and button on the side that would shoot the photos. Even though it does not sound as though it would be easily portable, many found it more functional than the older models.

Kodak became a leader in the world of photography and began manufacturing different camera models to fit the needs of their customers. One new model was the Kodak Bantam. Originally designed as a folding camera, they began manufacturing it in 1935. After WWII, it was updated; flash sync was added to the shutter. They came up with a very original name for this model with added flash, the Flash Bantam. This model was produced from 1947 until 1953 and was have been purchased at the time for around $4.75.

The camera pictured below is the Kodak Bantam Camera that is a part of our collection. When in use, the camera looks similar to earlier folding cameras as the front lens pulls out. I wonder what a selfie would have looked like taken on this camera back in the 1950s?

Remember to take a selfie in front of the museum during your next visit!

Yours sincerely,

Katey Vanscoy SVSU Intern Castle Museum of Saginaw County History


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