Kodak No.4 Folding Pocket 1907-15

Tomei Collection


Similar smaller models were called Folding Pocket Kodaks.  A No.4 Folding Pocket Kodak was produced taking 4x5 images during these same years.  However, there was never any pretense to being a "pocket" Kodak when it came to this behemoth.  It took six exposures of 4x5 inch on type 123 film which was introduced to the market in 1904 for the No.4 Screen Focus model.  Several models were available during the production of this one of the largest of the folding Kodaks ever produced.  Each of four Models will be added as time permits.

 

All are in original condition and no attempt at restoration has been made... yet.

 

The No.4A took larger images, 41/4x61/2 on type 126 film and the dimensions of the body slightly enlarged to accommodate the new film.  Otherwise, the cameras appear to be very similar with several improvements such as rack & pinion focusing and larger format appearing in the No.4A model.

 

The camera above, serial no. 17491-C, is equipped with the Kodak Ball Bearing shutter with 1/25, 1/50, and 1/100 sec and T and B settings. 

This is the second variant to appear and the first to have the metal lens stand instead of wood.  The cameras shown here are marked "No.4 Folding Pocket Kodak" on the rear door and were apparently produced from December 1907 through January 1912.  It is marked by the prism shaped finder without a spirit level. The earlier wood lens stand gave way to the metal stand mounted on a U-shaped bracket with screw rising front and clamp lateral shift for basic perspective control.

The camera to the right is serial no. 4884-C and is equipped with the very basic FPK Automatic shutter with T, B, and 1/50 sec, and the f/8 Rapid Rectilinear lens.  Actually, this shutter cost a bit more than the basic Ball Bearing.

The basic camera with the Rapid Rectilinear 81/4 inch f/8 lens and B&L shutter cost $20.00. Based upon the CPI, this was equivalent to about $550.00.  The FPK Automatic shutter added another $5.00 but the price more than doubled to $61.40 if the customer wished the Zeiss Kodak Anastigmat f/6.3 lens and an upgraded compound shutter with top speed of 1/200 sec.  A fully equipped camera could cost as much as $87.00, or the equivalent of over $2000.00 when equipped with a Zeiss lens and Volute shutter.  It is surprising how close these prices match current camera prices.

A broad variety of lens and shutter combinations were available in the U.S., six at last count, with an even longer list available in the U.K.   Brian Coe lists 22 different lens/shutter combinations, many I suspect are exceedingly rare.

This was the last model to come with the red leather bellows.  The Model C that came out in January 1912 (i.e. after serial no. 13,907) was equipped with black bellows and a new spirit level and viewfinder.  Autographic models did not appear until 1915 and are rare because the No.4A production was discontinued in April of the same year.