Kodak pinhole camera

Kodak pinhole camera© Jon Grepstad

A Vintage Pinhole Camera

This cardboard pinhole camera was designed by Frederick W. Brehm for 3 x 4 inch sheet film and sold as a kit from 1931 until the 1950s. The kit consisted of five pieces of cardstock, gummed tape, a pin for the hole and instructions for use. Due to limited availability and fragile construction, not many of these cameras have survived. It is even less common to encounter an unassembled kit in its original Kodak envelope.

I bought this camera at an auction on eBay in 2014.

Frederick W. Brehm was born in Waterloo, NY, in 1871 and died in 1950. He was originally trained as a cabinet maker and in 1892 came to Rochester NY, where he worked as a camera designer at F.A. Brownell, a division of Eastman Kodak Co. He was involved in the development of the Cirkuit Camera, and in 1905 made a 360 degree and 19 foot long panorama photograph of Washington DC. In 1930, on loan from Kodak, he organized the Department of Photographic Technology at Rochester Mechanics Institute. George Eastman House has about 70 of Brehm’s panoramas, most of them between 20 and 50 inches long, but others even longer, up to 108 inches.

I am indebted to Joe Struble, collection manager in the Department of Photography, George Eastman House, for information about Frederick W. Brehm.

Here is a photo of an unassembled Kodak pinhole camera at the Pinhole Resource Collection now located at New Mexico History Museum.