Baby Hawkeye (Kodak)

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Kodak inherited the name Hawkeye from Blair, a competitor company Kodak bought in 1899. Blair made several cameras using the name, including a Baby Hawk-Eye of about 1896.

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Baby Hawkeye

The Baby Hawkeye is a box camera for 4x6.5 cm pictures on 127 film, made by Kodak in London from about 1936.[1] It has a painted-metal front plate, which is nailed to a wooden block housing the lens and shutter. The film-holding parts, made of folded metal, are nailed to the rear of this block. The rear body of the camera is of leatherette-covered cardboard.

The camera has a meniscus lens and single speed shutter, operated with a sliding button below the lens. This has a 'flip-flop' action; sliding the button in either direction makes an exposure.[2] The lens has a fixed aperture and fixed focus (though at least some of the cameras were supplied with a supplementary lens for portrait range; in fact this appears to be fitted to the camera pictured). There is a pull-out wire frame viewfinder (with only a front frame; there is no eyepiece). The camera pictured at top right here is the de-luxe version, with studs allowing the use of a string neck-strap.

The internal parts guide the film through a curved path, reflecting the curved field of focus of the simple lens. Film is advanced with a metal winder and red window. The rear of the camera detaches for loading, with a simple catch on the left, and after pulling the winding knob out a little.

Hawkeye Ace

Kodak made a virtually identical camera, the Hawkeye Ace (and Hawkeye Ace De Luxe, again with strap-lugs), from about 1938. These differ only in the name marked on the camera, and in having a panel of thin leatherette stuck on the front instead of the Baby's painted-metal finish.

Other types

There are also cameras like those pictured at right, with only 'Hawkeye' written on the front, and which exist with both smooth and crackle-finish black painted metal. Again, these are virtually identical to the original Baby Hawkeye, differing only in the finish of the front.

All of these cameras were frequently given away as promotional gifts, or offered for cheap sale by magazines.


Notes

  1. McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p497.
  2. McKeown suggests the camera has 'T' as well as 'I' shutter; this is incorrect.
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