Kodak Junior No. 1A Autographic – Tune of the Centenarian – from the Twenties to the 2020s – By Simon Foale

This digital camera was considered one of a number of given to me not too long ago by my dad. I’ve already posted on one other from this lot – the Zeiss (Ikon) Contina 1 (522/24). The Kodak is by far the oldest of the batch, having been initially bought between 1914 and 1927. This specimen was principally utilized by my grandfather, Cyril, a farmer within the Mallee district of japanese South Australia. I don’t know precisely when Cyril first obtained this digital camera, however my Auntie Yae despatched me a set of negs made with it, a few of which we all know had been shot within the Twenties, although the precise yr shouldn’t be clear for all of them. I’ll current beneath pictures made by my grandfather after which some that I’ve made since restoring the digital camera, together with some notes concerning the digital camera and its restoration.

The No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior shot 116 movie, which was the first format of roll film ever made (1899 – 1984). At 70mm complete width it’s about 8mm wider than 120, which first grew to become accessible in 1901 and is the dominant roll movie format now. The digital camera shoots 11 x 6.5cm frames, and you will get six frames from a roll of 116 or 120 movie. It’s a folder so it ordinarily folds into a really compact unit. The bellows on my grandfather’s mannequin are material and paper, not leather-based. The digital camera physique is generally aluminium lined in ‘seal grain leather-based’ (no matter that’s). It has two tripod mounts for horizontal and vertical capturing. The tripod mount on the ‘drawbridge’ or entrance door is so near the physique as to be unusable for my tripods. The ‘Autographic’ a part of the identify refers to a zany perform accessible solely with devoted movie, the place you possibly can write on the again of the movie with a steel stylus, by an oblong window within the again cowl (opened and closed with its personal steel door). The ‘autographic’ movie shares had a particular layer on the again of the movie that may permit gentle by to the movie the place strain from the stylus was utilized. This gave the photographer the flexibility to write down some knowledge instantly on the movie on the finish of every body after it had been uncovered and the writing would present after improvement. Apparently hardly anybody really used this perform and Kodak finally deserted the concept.

The No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior got here with various different lenses. My grandfather’s has a Bausch and Lomb Fast Rectilinear lens, which contains two cemented doublets all sides of the iris. Every doublet within the later mannequin Fast Rectilinear lenses apparently contains one ingredient of crown glass and considered one of dense Barium flint glass. The lens is a symmetrical design and is uncoated. This design dates back to 1866 and is the same as the independently but almost simultaneously invented ‘Aplanat’ design. Some variations include an Anastigmat lens, which, you guessed it, does a greater job of correcting astigmatism. The Kodak Anastigmats are apparently similar to a Tessar design.

I struggled to discover a supply that confirms the focal size of this lens! It’s not on the digital camera or within the guide. I initially assumed it could be round 100mm however Mike Eckman critiques a ‘No. 1A Pocket Kodak’ with an F6.3 Kodak Anastigmat lens which he reckons has a focal length of 127mm. It shoots the identical body measurement as this one.

The lens may be focussed from 6 toes (roughly 2m) to 100 toes (30m) (which substitutes for infinity) by sliding the entire lens board ahead or backward whereas urgent a lever that releases a catch that matches into notches on the bottom plate corresponding to those two extremes plus 4 intermediate distances: 8, 10, 15 and 25 toes.

You body your shot by peering by a tiny ‘sensible’ finder mounted on the prime of the lens board, which may be swivelled to permit vertical or horizontal photographs. It takes some getting used to however when you get your eye in it’s not too dangerous.

The iris, which has eight superbly rounded blades, is marked in ‘US’ cease numbers, which correspond to the numbers we principally use now as follows:
4  8 16 32 64 (‘US’)
8 11 16 22 32 (‘Modern’)

I believe that the utmost F-stop of this lens could probably be F7.1 within the standard numbering as a result of it opens a smidge wider than the ‘4’ marking on the dial.

The shutter is a Kodak ball bearing shutter that has T, B, 1/25, 1/50, and 1/100 settings. It was the one a part of this previous digital camera that fortunately I wanted to do no work on – each pace sounds proper, and B and T each work as meant. It in fact has a spot for attaching a regular mechanical distant shutter launch, which I like to recommend utilizing instead of the lever, given the convenience of introducing motion to the lens board when utilizing the latter.

I had at all times meant to truly use this digital camera (after in depth renovations) and to my aid found that I might simply discover and order on-line a set of plastic spacers that match on the ends of 120 movie spools to permit this smaller measurement movie for use in it.

The issue right here is that on this digital camera the marginally narrower 120 movie permits gentle from the purple window on the again cowl (which usually permits body counting utilizing the numbers printed on the movie’s backing paper) to get across the edges of the paper and fog the movie. So you must put black tape over the purple window and as an alternative fastidiously rely the variety of turns of the guide winder key to advance the movie appropriately. Right here’s the drill:
After inserting the movie chief into the take-up spool, flip it a half a flip to ensure it’s engaged, then shut the again cowl. Mike Connealy worked out that it’s eight and a half rotations to advance the movie to the place the place you’re prepared to reveal body 1. Every subsequent body requires two and a half rotations of the important thing. I’ve modified this routine to utilizing two and a half turns to advance to frames 2, 3 and 4, after which lowering it to 2 and 1 / 4 turns to get to frames 5 and 6. It’s because the rising thickness of movie on the take-up spool makes for bigger areas between frames on the finish of the roll and should you aren’t cautious your final body may not slot in comfortably. I’ve additionally put a chunk of black tape on one facet of the movie advance key to assist hold observe of what number of turns I’ve performed! If you’ve shot body 6 you simply wind on until you possibly can hear that the movie is totally wound on to the take up spool and also you’re performed.

It’s fairly uncommon for a digital camera this previous to be in good working order. My grandfather’s digital camera had seen at the least three a long time of labor on a dusty Mallee farm, spanning the Nice Despair and WW2, and probably additionally WW1, although I haven’t seen negs from that interval. It was fairly crushed up when my dad gave it to me. However the shutter was working effective. I used to be in a position to unscrew the inside lens doublet with a lens spanner and provides {that a} good clear on each side, and by opening the iris totally and opening the shutter on the T setting, I might clear the within of the entrance group as effectively. I used black electrical tape to enhance the light-tightness of the (rusting) edges of the again cowl, and taped over the purple window and the ‘autographic’ window for good measure (no use for that any extra anyway). The bellows, that are made of material with an outer paper protecting, had been a complete nightmare. They had been riddled with holes. The paper protecting was additionally disintegrating and flaking off, and I finally determined to take away as a lot of it as I might. I used (the flawed) black paint for the holes – a random material paint I discovered on-line. It labored to dam the sunshine leaks, however, even after it ought to have been effectively and really dry, it made the bellows stick collectively after I tried to fold the digital camera. I’ve since used a ‘Golden’ model of ‘carbon black’ on different cameras with gentle leaks and that’s method superior. To attempt to take care of the sticky bellows I utilized electrical tape to just about the entire outer floor (and among the insides) of the bellows. This made making an attempt to fold the digital camera much more tough. So I’ve given up attempting to fold it any extra and have obtained an ideal measurement, low cost, light-weight plastic case with foam insert which the digital camera now lives in, totally open. The digital camera is gentle tight and takes footage simply effective so I’m good with this compromise. I additionally modified a pleasant slip-on hood for it (there’s no thread on the lens).

How about some pictures? Beneath are a handful of pictures made with this digital camera within the Twenties and ‘30s, adopted by some pictures I’ve made with it since 2019. I’ve additionally included a few pictures of the envelopes the previous negs had been saved in. Most of my pics had been shot on the 30m / 100 toes focus setting (except in any other case specified) and metering was both incident with a Sekonic L-308x or mirrored utilizing my cellphone.

Two large horse teams pulling what I think are scarifiers. From some time in the ‘20s. My grandfather started his career as a farmer from 1907 (at age 17) and used horse teams for most of the work until 1930. You can read the word ‘Alston’ on the windmill rudder quite clearly at 100%.

Two giant horse groups pulling what I feel are scarifiers. From a while within the ‘20s. My grandfather began his profession as a farmer from 1907 (at age 17) and used horse groups for many of the work till 1930. You possibly can learn the phrase ‘Alston’ on the windmill rudder fairly clearly at 100%.

My grandfather, Cyril, posing with a scarifier or plough (Twenties).

Cyril and his soon-to-be spouse, Rose, dressed up for a elaborate costume celebration (late Twenties).

One other horse-drawn piece of farm gear (Twenties).

A crawler tractor, acquired in 1930. My grandfather and his brothers apparently traded almost all of their horses for this mechanical beast.

A crawler tractor, acquired in 1930. My grandfather and his brothers apparently traded nearly all of their horses for this mechanical beast.

Many of the early pics made with this digital camera would have been shot on an orthochromatic movie, probably Verichrome, as advised right here. Since Verichrome Pan was not produced till 1956 it’s attention-grabbing to invest as to the age of the envelope – the textual content references ‘Kodak panchromatic movies’ however does point out ‘Verichrome Pan’ particularly.

Three unfavourable envelopes despatched to me by my Auntie. Of curiosity is the three-digit cellphone quantity on the decrease one.

Wallaman Falls, North Queensland, 2022. Ektar. F22.

I really needed to ‘bracket’ composition with a number of frames to ensure I obtained the underside of the waterfall in plus some sky on the prime, because it was a good composition, and never straightforward to border by the tiny viewfinder. I scanned the negs on a Nikon Coolscan LS-9000. As a result of my scanner can’t scan a chunk of movie longer than 83mm I needed to scan the 11cm negs in two bites, and sew the photographs in put up. You possibly can see that the standard on the perimeters shouldn’t be terrific, even at F22, nevertheless it’s fairly first rate for many of the body.

My favourite image made with the No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior

My favorite picture made with the No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior – the underside of Wallaman Falls. Ektar at F22.

I’ve simply scanned the central 83mm of this picture, as the perimeters weren’t vital. I can see nothing flawed with the colors delivered by this very previous, uncoated lens.

Wallaman Valley, 2019. Velvia 100, F16.

After this shoot I found that utilizing the shutter lever as an alternative of the distant shutter launch shouldn’t be a good suggestion, as a result of the lens board shouldn’t be very inflexible, and the slightest motion from touching the lever can blur the picture.

South Pond, The Palmetum (Townsville) 2022. Kodak Gold 200, F22. One in every of my favorite locations.

Cactus Garden, The Palmetum. Kodak Gold 200, F22. This focus setting used for this shot was 8m / 25 feet.

Cactus Backyard, The Palmetum. Kodak Gold 200, F22. This focus setting used for this shot was 8m / 25 toes.

Foliage, The Palmetum. Kodak Gold 200. F22. Focus setting: 6 toes (15 second publicity).

Ektar, F11. Focus setting: 6 feet.

Ektar, F11. Focus setting: 6 toes.

Cushion cowl embroidery work (Australasian Grebe and Rainbow Bee-eaters) by Pam Foale. The attractive crochet work on the again is by Delmay Likaveke. I opened the shutter on B for about half a second and triggered two wi-fi distant flashes whereas it was open, having already flash-metered the scene. The decision isn’t dangerous right here.

That is the Herveys Vary Tea Rooms (west of Townsville), apparently in-built 1865, initially because the Eureka Lodge. FP4, F22.

I needed to incorporate a shot made with a movie that additionally has some ‘heritage’ befitting the digital camera’s age and thought I would as effectively additionally shoot a topic with a modicum of (post-colonial) historical past connected to it.  I selected FP4 as a result of it’s the descendent of Ilford ‘FP’ (Tremendous grain Panchromatic) which dates to 1935.  (Couldn’t deliver myself to shell out the present value for expired Verichrome Pan, sorry!).

As you possibly can most likely inform, getting the previous No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior into working order was a labour of affection. Going by my grandfather’s pictures was additionally a journey of discovery. The digital camera is now extra taped up than an elite athlete having a tough season, nevertheless it’s been a enjoyable journey. I just like the look of the photographs, although maybe the Anastigmat lens delivers higher edges? I welcome feedback from anybody with expertise with these previous Kodaks.

Thanks for studying! My Flickr web page is here.

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