Kodak Boy Scout 1929-34

Tomei Collection


Beginning in the late 1920's, Kodak launched a strategy to appeal to special segments of the market and special interest groups.   Several new models were produced in a variety of colors (see Kodak VanityKodak Petite).  The Boy Scout version of the Vest Pocket Model B camera was introduced in July 1929 according to Coe, and discontinued in 1934.  It was covered in green leatherette and came with a matching leatherette case.  This model was accompanied by another Boy Scout Brownie, a 120 box camera that was produced only in 1932.

 

This model was available only with the meniscus lens and basic rotary shutter.  Although the VP Model B from which it was derived was available with the Autographic feature until 1932, the Boy Scout version was introduced with the features of the late non-Autographic VP Kodak variant.

 

The green colored bellows were made of a material that was not very durable and many of these cameras soon had their original bellows replaced with the standard black leatherette.  This was a problem common to all Kodak colored bellows on Vanity and Petite models as well.  The British version of the Boy Scout Kodak camera did not have the problem since they were produced with the more durable black bellows.

The camera used 127 film and took 15/8 x 21/2 in. pictures.  The Boy Scout insignia was enameled on a separate plate which was rivet mounted to the baseplate.  The American version shown here had the vertical stripes.

Kodak produced a different  Boy Scout Kodak for the UK market which had a leatherette cover of slightly different color and texture,  horizontal zig-zag lines on the front plate, and came with standard black bellows instead of olive green.  In addition, Kodak offered similar models for Girl Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, and Girl Guides (UK), and several fraternal organizations, all of which are highly prized by collectors.

Note:  Often these cameras are found with bellows that are stuck closed.  If forced open, they will likely tear and break because the old leatherette material has a tendency to form a sticky surface over the years of storage making the folds tightly adhere to one another.  This can be remedied easily by removing the back of the camera and simply wetting the exterior of the folded bellows with warm water for a few moments.  Lay wet cotton balls or similar over the edges of the folded material for about 10 to 15 minutes taking care not to wet the shutter housing.  When the bellows material softens they can be fully extended, gently wiped clean with a damp cloth and left to dry thoroughly. 

When dry the  exterior of the extended bellows can be treated with a very thin coat of pure bees wax and gently polished.  The water will have dissolved the sticky surface of the bellows and will not produced any damage.  Pure bees wax softened with turpentine will dry hard, not alter the color of the leatherette, and it will even inhibit mildew.  Never use any shoe polishes, oils or softeners because they will cause the bellows to become sticky once again.  Remember that this leatherette is more like old fashioned linoleum, it does not need to be nor can it be "softened", it will be damaged by organic solvents like alcohol and acetone, and it will be damaged by exposure to the UV in sun light.

 

This example is in excellent condition having the original green bellows. 

Production numbers are not available, but considering the fact that these cameras are not uncommon after more than 70 years, I would presume that they were a very popular item,