Kodak No.4 Cartridge

Tomei Collection

In 1897, Kodak introduced the first of their new cameras that took paper backed rollfilm.  The No.4 Cartridge Kodak took the new Type 104 cartridge rollfilm that was introduced specifically for this camera and took 5 x 4 in. pictures. It was by far the most popular of the three cartridge Kodak models during these years with approximately 90,000 sold from 1897 through 1907.  In 1898 the N0.5 model appeared, whereas the No.3 was launched in early 1900.  All three Cartridge Kodaks were discontinued in 1907.  Interestingly, according to Coe, the camera took its name from the paper-backed rollfilm that was packed in a way that looked like a shot-gun cartridge.


The camera shown here is an example of the earliest design which was available from 1897 through November 1900.  This is indicated by the wood lens standard and the Eastman Triple Action Pneumatic shutter with the valve on the right. It was also the first model to employ the red leather bellows obtained from Russia where they pioneered the chromium tanning process and bright red color. These leathers would continue to be used by Kodak in a variety of cameras through 1913 when all bellows became black, made from American and European leathers.


This example (above) was built in 1897-98 since it retains the brass fittings.  In February, 1899, all fittings were changed to nickel plated.

Several versions of this model were brought forward during the nine years of production.  In 1900, Kodak introduced a more advanced design incorporating a nickel plated lens standard that provide rise, fall and tilt adjustments.

This particular camera was built between 1900 and 1903 as indicated by the Eastman Triple Action shutter with the valve located below the Rapid Rectilinear lens.  Later, extra bellows extensions and spirit levels were fitted.