Kodak Vest Pockets 1912-26

Tomei Collection

The Kodak Vest Pocket cameras, the first camera to take type 127 film, were one of the most popular series ever produced by any company.  The original model appeared in July 1912 and discontinued two years later only to be replaced by an ever growing number of improved models equipped with a long list of shutter and lens combinations.  The earliest model built in 1912 is marked by the so-called "square bellows", which refers to this variant of the bellow's folding pattern.  In January 1915, the black smooth enameled camera appeared with the autographic feature.  This variant alone with a simple meniscus lens or f/7.7 Kodak Anastigmat accounted for over 1,750,000 sold between January 1915 and September 1926. It was especially popular among American and British soldiers in WWI and acquired the name "the soldier's camera".


Here is shown a series of variants beginning with the 1912 square bellows model.  In addition, there is shown a 1915 model lovingly restored and painted an un-Kodak green by someone particularly dedicated to this unpretentious camera.  I still look out for the elusive Compur shutter UK version with the Zeiss Tessar lens produced in 1926-27, the final year for this common but none the less historically important camera.






This is certainly not a true restoration, but rather someone's labor of love. Each screw has been carefully polished, the metal surface prepared and an excellent green enamel applied.









The fact that early non-autographic Vest Pocket Kodaks were constructed with square-folded bellows as shown here is often overlooked by collectors.  These are somewhat uncommon and even occasionally attract a premium price.  This example is number 152918 and has the simple meniscus lens.