Kodak camera design paved way for amateur photography

Kodak Brownie Camera
Kodak Brownie Camera

The renowned Brownie camera, introduced by Kodak at the turn of the century, was straightforward to use. It was one of the first pieces of technology that didn’t require any prior knowledge to use. Kodak’s actual earnings came from the film sold with the camera, which cost merely one dollar. As a result, the corporation is credited with the birth of amateur photography. Three decades later, Kodak revisited the winning formula: the Baby Brownie, developed by Walter Dorwin Teague and meant to improve film sales. The mechanism, which was fastened to the top of the casing and could be drawn out like a drawer when the film was loaded, was encased in a tiny black plastic casing. The front of the camera had vertical ribs, which were a distinguishing feature.

At the same time, Kodak acquired Nagel, a German camera company. It rapidly found a ready market for its Retina 35mm camera, which combined a high level of precision with a low price. Kenneth Grange’s Instamatic 100 was considerably more popular in the early 1960s. Its seamless design is still considered a symbol of industrial design. The benefits accrued to Kodak, which sold more than 70 million cameras as a result. In the age of digital photography, the company’s original slogan, “You push the button, we do the rest,” has resurfaced.

Sources

Polster, B. (2006). The A-Z of modern design. Merrell.

More on American Design

  • Black Landscapes Matter (paperback)

    Black Landscapes Matter (paperback)

    “Do black landscapes matter?” is an issue that goes to the heart of American history. The nation’s terrain contains the wreckage of different origins, from slavery’s plantations to today’s divided cities, from freedman settlements to northern migrations for freedom.Read More →

  • Michael Taylor (1927 – 1986) – “California Look” 🌞

    Michael Taylor (1927 – 1986) – “California Look” 🌞

    Michael Taylor (1927 – 1986) was an American interior and furniture designer. He was known for the “California Style” and made his homes showplaces of the unexpected.Read More →

  • Virgil Exner (1909 – 1973) American Industrial Designer

    Virgil Exner (1909 – 1973) American Industrial Designer

    He was hired to work in the Pontiac design lab after coming to the attention of Harley Earl at General Motors. Later, in 1938, he worked for Raymond Loewy’s design consultant on Studebaker cars, particularly the 1947 Starlight coupé. Loewy received the majority of the critical accolades. Read More →

  • Walter Kantack (1889 – 1953) – American Lighting Designer

    Walter Kantack (1889 – 1953) – American Lighting Designer

    Walter Kantack was an American Lighting Designer born in Meriden, Connecticut. He completed his studies at the Pratt Institute in New York.Read More →

  • Henry Varnum Poor (1887 – 1970) American Designer & Artist

    Henry Varnum Poor (1887 – 1970) American Designer & Artist

    Henry Varnum Poor (1887-1970) was an American architect, painter, sculptor, muralist, potter, and architect. He was the grandnephew of Henry Varnmum Poor, a founding member of the company that became Standard & Poor’s.Read More →

  • Mission Furniture – Design Dictionary Term

    Mission Furniture – Design Dictionary Term

    The term mission furniture was first popularized by Joseph P. McHugh of New York, a furniture manufacturer and retailer. The word mission references the Spanish missions throughout colonial California. The style became increasingly popular following the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo.Read More →

  • Vendo 44 – Cokes 1950s retro classic vending machine

    Vendo 44 – Cokes 1950s retro classic vending machine

    The Vendo 44 Coca-Cola bottle vending machine was produced between 1956 and 1959. Despite being only 16 wide, 15.5 deep, and 58 high, it could fit 44 bottles of coke. It has a white top and a heavy gauge steel case with bright red enamel.Read More →

  • Rhode Island School of Design – Prestigious Design Education

    Rhode Island School of Design – Prestigious Design Education

    Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a private art and design school in Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1877 and now offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes in 19 different fields. It is affiliated with Brown University, with which it shares a College Hill campus.Read More →

  • Charles Pfister (1938 – 1990) was an American interior and furniture designer

    Charles Pfister (1938 – 1990) was an American interior and furniture designer

    Charles Pfister (1939 to 1990) was an American interior and furniture designer and architect. He was professionally active in San Francisco.Read More →

  • Handel Company (1885 – 1936) American Lighting Company

    Handel Company (1885 – 1936) American Lighting Company

    American Lighting firm The Handel Company was founded in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1885 and created lamps and glass designs over the years. The business was incorporated in 1903.Read More →

  • Quezal an American glassware company

    Quezal an American glassware company

    Martin Bach and Thomas Johnson, Tiffany’s former glass mixer and foreman, started Quezel Art Glass and Decorating in Brooklyn in 1901. Many pieces of lustrous and ‘favrile’ glassware were manufactured by Bach and Johnson.Read More →

  • Sam Maloof (1916 – 2009) American furniture designer and maker

    Sam Maloof (1916 – 2009) American furniture designer and maker

    His work is part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston MFA and Philadelphia MFA. The ‘Rocking Chair’ became part of Ronald Reagan’s White House arts and crafts collection. Maloof built an approach to woodworking that drew parallels to Shaker and modern Scandinavian styles. Using no nails or metal hardware, he worked almost entirely by hand. One of his rocking chairs sold for $51,000; he married Alfreda Ward in 1948.Read More →

  • Judith Leiber (1921 – 2018) American designer of handbags

    Judith Leiber  (1921 – 2018) American designer of handbags

    Judith Leiber (1921 – 2018) was a prolific designer whose fanciful minaudières had accessorised royalties, first ladies, and film stars, and entered the collections of art the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While her couture handbags—carried by celebrities such as Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, Claudette Colbert, Björk, and Barbara Walters—are widely regarded as works of art, Leiber preferred the word “artisan” to “artist.”Read More →

  • Francis H. Bacon (1856 – 1940) American Furniture Designer

    Francis H. Bacon (1856 – 1940) American Furniture Designer

    He was a designer for furniture maker Herter Brothers, commissioned by the company to furnish the New York William H. Vanderbilt House, 1881-83.Read More →

  • John Mascheroni (1932- ) American furniture and industrial designer

    John Mascheroni (1932- ) American furniture and industrial designer

    John Mascheroni is an American furniture and industrial designer. He studied at the Pratt Insitute in Brooklyn New York. He opened his own design office and furniture factory in New York. Mascheroni designed furniture for manufactures in High Point, North Carolina. From 1990, his furniture designs were produced by Swaim and, from 1991, others by Jeffco.Read More →

  • James Evanson (1946 – 2022) American furniture and lighting designer

    James Evanson (1946 – 2022) American furniture and lighting designer

    James Evanson has been at the forefront of the “functional art” movement around the world. His work has travelled worldwide since his first exhibition in 1979 at the Art et Industrie Gallery in New York. For the Memphis Collection in Milan, new work was created just for the occasion. The “Lighthouse” lamps gained international acclaim and became an icon of the 1980s.Read More →

  • Harry Bertoia (1915 – 1978) Italian sculptor, furniture designer

    Harry Bertoia (1915 – 1978) Italian sculptor, furniture designer

    Harry Bertoia was a sculptor, printmaker, jeweller, and furniture designer. He was born in San Lorenzo, Udine, and worked in the United States professionally. During World War Two he worked with Ray and Charles Eames on moulded-plywood technology. He worked primarily as a sculptor from the mid-1950s onwards. His sculpture was prominently featured in many of Eero Saarinen’s buildings.Read More →

  • Alma Eikerman (1908 – 1995) American jewellery designer and silversmith

    Alma Eikerman (1908 – 1995) American jewellery designer and silversmith

    Alma Eikerman (1908 – 1995) was an American jewellery designer and silversmith. Eikerman was born in Pratt, Kansas, and graduated from Kansas State College in Emporia with a B.Sc. in 1934 and an M.Sc. in 1942. Read More →

  • Eliot Noyes (1910 – 1977) American industrial designer

    Eliot Noyes (1910 – 1977) American industrial designer

    Eliot Noyes (1910 – 1977) was an industrial designer from the United States. From 1928 to 1932, he studied architecture at Harvard University, followed by stints at the Graduate School of Design from 1932 to 1935 and 1937 to 1938. Read More →

  • Bill Stumpf, inventor of the modern swivel chair

    Bill Stumpf, inventor of the modern swivel chair

    In 1976, the Ergon chair was introduced by Bill Stumpf, a designer for Herman Miller. It had a foam-filled back and seat, gas-lift levers to change the height and tilt. The Ergon was based on the new science of ergonomics, first used to design aeroplane cockpits.Read More →

❤️ Receive our newsletter

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.