1913 Kodak Camera Ad

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, June 25, 1913: Went up to McEwensville this afternoon to transact some very important business, or rather so it seemed to me.

Now what could it be? Nothing less than that I sent off for a camera. I’ve wanted one for a long time, but thought I could hardly afford it. I was reminded that I really wanted it only by finding a camera catalog up in the garret yesterday. And as I had earned almost five dollars during the last two weeks, I carried the project through.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1913)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1913)

If it isn’t an Eastman, it isn’t a Kodak.

It’s springtime. Every field and park and woodland—every walk and ride, every joyous outing, invites your KODAK.

Eastman Kodak Co.,

Rochester, N.Y., The Kodak City.

Catalogue free at your dealers or by mail.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

A camera sounds like a lot of fun. What a great thing for Grandma to spend her money on!

Grandma made quite a bit picking strawberries—and, of course, she had money that she received earlier in the spring as graduation presents.

35 Responses

  1. Wonder what kind of camera it was..

  2. Ah, the fascination and lure of the camera. It still attracts us to this day.

  3. I remember baby-sitting the summer before my senior year of high school and using some of that money to buy my first camera.
    (I thought for sure Grandma was going to “leave us hanging” about what important business transaction she had!)

    • My husband also talks about how he used some of the first money he earned to buy a camera.

      Grandma did provide more detail than usual. :) She must have been really excited.

  4. The camera has come a long way :-)

  5. So sad that this great company has filed for bankruptcy due to the collapse of the film business due to the rise of digital photography. Corporate myth has it that Kodak actually invented a digital camera in the 1970′s but hid the invention in a top-secret vault, knowing that it would mean the death knell of their cash cow, camera film.

    • It is sad how Kodak (and the city of Rochester) have had a really rough time in recent years. Myth or not, it’s too bad that Kodak wasn’t able to stay at the cutting edge and benefit from technological changes.

  6. The camera will keep her busy during the long days of summer.

  7. Oh, your grandma would have loved blogging. Think of all the fabulous pictures she could have posted for us to enjoy in a hundred year old blog!

  8. We get to see yet another side of your grandmother, and she looks a lot like us.

  9. What a great idea. Do you have any of her photos?

  10. it’s a wonderful and exciting feeling knowing that you are going to get yourself a present soon. i am going to get a camera lens later in the day (it’s 5.30am now) and i’m awake because i’m too excited. i’m sure that’s how your grandma must have felt! :D

    • It’s fun to see how you and Grandma had similar feelings of excitement and anticipation.

      I’m looking forward to some super-amazing pictures on your blog. (I’ve always thought that your blog has some of the best food photography out there.You and your friends have an artistic eye, and are really good with a camera.)

  11. Fun post to read. Love the old camera ad!

  12. Especially when they are dressed up with such a dress and hat!

  13. Would be fun to see the photo collection she took. I rarely go anywhere with out my trusty camera. Those old ads are so fun.

  14. Oh, the power of advertising! :) What a great story! I understand her happiness over purchasing a camera – I love my cameras and always long for new accessories!

  15. […] 1913 Kokak Camera (Source: May 1913 advertisement in Ladies Home Journal) […]

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