Vintage Find: No. 3 Brownie Camera


Scrounging around in my photo teacher’s classroom, I managed to find an old, vintage Brownie Camera!

From underneath piles of papers, folders, dust, and old photos, I dug out this strange looking black box. I turned it over a few times before it hit me that I’d found an old jewel. The strange latches and winder looked foreign to me. It was light for it’s size and made me wonder what was on the inside.

(“No. 3 Brownie Camera, manufactured by Eastman Kodak Co, Rochester NY, Made in USA, US Patents, Sep 25, 1894, Apr 11 1899, Jan 12, 1897, Jan 21, 1902”)

I pulled it open and found that it was made of metal, but it’d rusted a whole lot. I studied this strange camera for a while as I tried to grasp how it worked. There was a wooden rod on one side that resembled the reel of a roll of 120 film, but a lot longer. It spun quite smoothly to my surprise. I flipped the camera upside down and realized that the bottom edges had thin rods that rolled; for film! I assumed that you would load the film from one side of the metal carton, wrap it across the bottom and into the wooden reel!

I also found two sockets for a tripod and a bunch of small windows, square and circular. However, I couldn’t see through any of them so I’m still not sure what their for.

I got excited and hopped on the computer, searching for what type of film it took. I cam upon the Brownie Camera website and found that it took 124 format film. But unfortunately, this film has been discontinued for a long time and I wasn’t able to find anyone selling it on ebay or amazon. It was a depressing thought, as I sat in front of the computer, wondering what kinds of photos that it could take. But then, I had an idea!

My photo class just started and we’ve been working on pinhole photography with photo paper, and I realized that I could test the camera out with photo paper and develop it to see how it worked! And so I did, and the results were surprisingly good for such an old camera!

(Love the dreamy quality of these photos, can do mx too!)

I know I won’t be able to keep it because it belongs to the school, but for the time being, I’m going to take as many photos with it as possible! Look forward to seeing new photos from my discovery!

written by natalieerachel on 2011-08-25 #lifestyle #old #vintage #vintage-camera #lomography #film-camera #analogue-lifestyle #requested #brownie-box-camera


  1. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    Thanks everyone! You can find the other photos in this album if you're interested :)…

  2. rodrigo_correia
    rodrigo_correia ·

    Hi! Amazing photos! I love this kind of camera. I´ve found one in my grandfather´s house, and he kindly gave it to me. The one I have uses 120mm film. Here´s some photos:

    Hope you like it ;)

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