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Brownie (original)
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No. 1 Brownie (1901-1916)

This is the successor of the famous and important Brownie camera of 1900. It was intended for children, very easy to use and quite affordable with its price tag of $ 1. It took photos of 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 inch (6 x 6 cm).

The original Brownie of February 1900 has a shoe lid type back. This was not very strong and the model was replaced by the Brownie of March 1900, which has a hinged back door. With the introduction of the No. 2 Brownie in October 1901 the Brownie was renamed No. 1 Brownie. About 522,000 No. 1 Brownies were made until the model was discontinued in 1916.

The No. 1 Brownie was very simple to use. To take a picture you had to push a small button to the left or to the right. This set the rotating shutter in motion, which took the picture in a fraction of a second. After the click you could wind the key until the next number appeared in the red window in the back of the camera.

Aiming the camera had to be done with the help of two lines on top, which were embossed in the leatherette as an X. The two lines indicated the angle of view. A separate clip on finder could be bought as an accessory.

Hidden on one side of the box is a small pull out lever to stop the shutter in the middle of its rotation. This was used for time-exposures or exposures with flash lights.

Example photo made with a (No.1) Brownie. It was taken in 1904 in Valentigney (France), Rue de Chardonnerets.

A 1914 ad, showing that a very nice picture could be made with the $ 1 Brownie.