Author Topic: C.E.Warden's cameras  (Read 377 times)

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Jeff Warden

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C.E.Warden's cameras
« on: July 19, 2017, 08:52:16 PM »
A few months back my dad called and said that he had two old cameras that he wanted to pass on to me. I thought maybe they were film cameras from the 1980s or something. (He knows I like using old film cameras and making prints in the darkroom.)

But they weren’t from the 1980s. These Kodak cameras belonged to my dad’s great uncle Clyde, and were made in 1915. And obviously Clyde took care of his things.

Untitled by Jeff Warden, on Flickr

My dad knew him but only at the end of Clyde’s life and so doesn’t have a lot of personal details about him. My family history from that time speaks mainly to births and deaths and while I have no birth date I know Clyde Endymion Warden died in 1948 in Newark Ohio, when my dad was six years old.

I do know that Clyde was a talented designer and artist, as there are scores of oil paintings and drawings on the walls of my relatives’ homes. The painting in one of these pictures was made by Clyde between 1910 and 1920.

In the beautifully preserved camera boxes are all the instructions, accessories, and Clyde’s business cards too, which are filled with exposure notes in his own hand on the reverse.

Untitled by Jeff Warden, on Flickr

102 years later Kodak still makes films for one of the cameras, in color and black-and-white too. So of course I’ve been fiddling with the camera, taking pictures here and there and developing the film in my basement. (My dad told me he used these cameras when he was a kid, in his own basement darkroom.) I’m happy to report that the Brownie works perfectly. I don’t think my iPhoneCam-puter will still be working in just five years, much less in a hundred, so kudos to Kodak for making these cameras of enduring quality and the film to run through them as well.

Now that's a tiny viewfinder.

Untitled by Jeff Warden, on Flickr

My kids are fascinated with these antiques. Owen (15) is studying history and wondered if this type of camera would have been used during WW1. Why yes, they were. In fact Kodak founded the United States School of Aerial Photography at Kodak Park in Rochester, New York in 1918, and trained 2100 war photographers with similar equipment.

I’ve learned that back in the day a popular way to use these cameras was to make contact prints, which means simply shining light directly through the negative while it's on top of and contacting the photographic paper beneath. This would produce a handy, small snapshot of an appropriate size for family albums. So that’s how I’m going to use it. I love it.

Untitled by Jeff Warden, on Flickr

I'm toning the little pictures with sepia sulfide, also commonly used in that time to preserve silver gelatin prints such as these. The chemists of the time couldn’t have known they were making an eventual sepia Instagram filter. :-)

Before and after sepia sulfide toning:

Untitled by Jeff Warden, on Flickr

The little prints are tucked into the frame at the lower left.  Clyde made the painting when that Brownie was still new.

Untitled by Jeff Warden, on Flickr

Thanks, Dad.

AJShepherd

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Re: C.E.Warden's cameras
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 09:08:17 PM »
Wow, that's in fantastic condition. Really nice to see such a wonderful family heirloom that can also be used as it was meant to be. Marvellous.

Bryan

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Re: C.E.Warden's cameras
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 09:18:40 PM »
That's great Jeff, it looks like he took really good care of it and kept all the documentation and accessories.  I have a few heirloom cameras from my family that I'm hanging onto.  I'll probably pass them onto a nephew someday if they are interested. 

jharr

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Re: C.E.Warden's cameras
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 10:03:30 PM »
Great stuff Jeff. Here's to another 105 years of film photography!
"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera"   -- Dorothea Lange
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Jeff Warden

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Re: C.E.Warden's cameras
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 10:47:26 PM »
Great stuff Jeff. Here's to another 105 years of film photography!

Thanks guys.  I don't see why this Brownie couldn't last another hundred actually.  It's just so simple and seemingly robust, although of course I'm handling it with kid gloves.

The Premo no. 12 is another story.  It used preloaded film cartridges that aren't available any more, or you could use glass plates, also difficult.  Apparently there was an accessory to allow roll film usage but I've failed to find one thus far.  Furthermore it needs a CLA with repairs, as the aperture control is sticky and off center.  I'm not messing with that camera until it's properly restored.  It's a superior camera to the Brownie though so I'm very interested to see what kind of images it can produce!

Cheers,

Jeff

Francois

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Re: C.E.Warden's cameras
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2017, 10:51:00 PM »
Brownies were what made Kodak what it was. Sure there was all the rest but if it wasn't for the brownie, photography would be drastically different.
Francois

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Nigel

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Re: C.E.Warden's cameras
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2017, 08:17:41 AM »
It's such a beautiful collection. I love the exposure notes on the business cards. Enjoy using it.
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Adam Doe

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Re: C.E.Warden's cameras
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2017, 06:05:33 PM »
Wow! I love history, especially when it can be told via tangible objects (and cameras, even more so). Having your uncles cameras is cool enough, but the addition of the accessories, his business cards as well as his handwritten notes... awesome! The wonderful quality of the painting in the last shot makes me curious about his photography. Do you have any of his photos?

Jeff Warden

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Re: C.E.Warden's cameras
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2017, 12:50:41 AM »
Thanks Adam, and good question!  You would think that an artist with a camera would leave plenty of evidence of his work but I've never seen a picture taken by Clyde.  But just yesterday my dad told me that he thinks there may be some negatives or glass plates in his house somewhere.  Maybe I'll see some pics from Clyde yet!