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9 x 12 cm Zenith (1899)

This is a very rare camera that was made for the European continental market in 1899.

It belongs to the Eureka and Zenith line of Kodak cameras. They were cheap box cameras for amateur photographers and were made during a short time only, from 1898 to 1900. The selling price in France for the camera and one double plateholder was 42 Francs.

The larger models are all rather rare, but I think the rarest today is this 9 x 12 cm Zenith. Only 1000 were made and I know of only two other specimen, one in a Hungarian museum and one in a private French collection.

The 9x12 cm Zenith can be regarded as a Continental version of the No. 3 Zenith, which took 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inch pictures (8.2 x 10.7 cm). So this 9x12 model took slightly larger photos. The camera box is also a bit larger. It measures 13 x 15 x 24 cm.

The camera has quite basic specifications. The rotating disc shutter can be set on instantaneous and time. Also there is a metal strip with three apertures to choose from.
The distance can be set on a scale, ranging from 8 feet (about 2.5 meters) to 100 feet, which can be regarded as infinity.

In the back is room for two double plate holders and a ground glass. These can be changed through a door in the side. A door in the back allows the photographer to see the image on the ground glass. The plate holders can be replaced with a roll holder.




No. 3 Zenith on the left and 9x12 cm Zenith on the right. 

Beautiful example of the 9 x 12 Zenith, complete with manual, from the collection of Jacques Villemaire.
Serial number 725.

Shown here with kind permission of Jacques Villemaire (copyright).