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Buried Treasures...

   

The attic space; lots of us have them but unless it's been converted into an actual room, it usually has one purpose... storage! On the weekend I thought I'd help Dad sort out the decades of junk that has accumulated in his attic. I'm very glad I did because in amongst the cat shaped tea pots and Showaddywaddy LPs was this little buried treasure! It's called the Vest Pocket Kodak Autographer (VPK) and was produced from 1912 - 1926 and was the most popular pocket sized camera of it's day. 

My Dad doesn't recall ever seeing it before so perhaps it was there when he moved in. I've done a bit of research and found the specs of the Vest Pocket Kodak.


  

This was the successor of the long praised collapsible large Kodak cameras.
It's success was due to the small size and price. They sold for $6. This price was possible due to it's simpler construction, instead of  wood, metal, leather of the older and bigger models, the VPK was made of an aluminium alloy fastened with rivets. That explains why there are still so many, in very good condition, today.

   

Here are some of the cameras features:

  • Single meniscus lens about 75mm 1:11
  • Three blades, Kodak ball bearing shutter, 1/25, 1/50 B and T
  • Fixed focus ~1.8m to infinity
  • 8, 4x7cm, exposures on 127 film
  • Folding bellows in trellis struts
  • Autographic window and stylus 
  • Size and weight: 67x121x30mm, 316g
Pulling the lens plate all the way, about 70mm, it clicks and stays rigid and focused. Now your ready for the shot. Compose the image using the bright viewfinder that can be turned 90 degrees to take landscape pictures.

  

The apertures are marked as 1-2-3-4. 1 = f11 the others should be 16, 22 and 32.
The numbers have corresponding scenes to help you choose. They are:

  1. Near view Portraits
  2. Average view
  3. Distant view
  4. Clouds Marine

  


The circular port on the back can be removed to clean the back of the lens. It also features a small red window that was used to view the advancement of the film.

   


The reason it was call the Vest Pocket Autographer is firstly because of it's small sized and secondly because of the scribe feature on the back. There is another small window on the back of the camera and a small stylus that allows you to scratch a quick note on the film between photos. Such as location or camera settings used. 


Unfortunately, the shutter switch doesn't work on mine. I have however found a site that includes step by step guides on restoring old cameras. If you want to restore an old camera, this site may be able to help you out. The VPK is listed so I will be attempting a fix on this very soon. 127 film can be picked up on ebay so hopefully this camera will soon once again take photos! On the classic cameras blog, I found lots of information as well as photos recently taken on a near 100 year old VPK camera and the results are stunning! Take a look below.

 

 

Do you have a classic camera story? Let us know and we'll blog about it! E-mail blogs@phlib.co.uk or send us a photo and info on our Facebook page.

I'll keep you posted on my progress with this excellent find. And remember to check your attic - you never know what you'll find!

Carl


                               

 

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