1913 Kodak Vest Camera

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

Wednesday, August 13, 1913:  Today we had our S.S. picnic up at the creek. Not all that were invited came, but still I guess we had a good time. I initiated by camera by taking two pictures.

Kodak Vest Camera

1913 Kodak Vest CameraSource: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1913)

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

The picnic sounds like fun—even if the group was small. Did Grandma gather everyone together to take a group shot?

Grandma ordered her camera from a catalog and got it on July 7:

Went into Watsontown this afternoon to see if my camera was there, nor was I mistaken. It was in a big box. I carried it home any way. Wonder if anyone one laughed at me. Perhaps I did look funny.

I’m amazed that it took her more than a month to actually use it. Why?

20 thoughts on “1913 Kodak Vest Camera

  1. She was waiting for something special to come along. The beauty of our digital cameras is that if we don’t like it we just press delete. But in those days film was not so cheap, and neither would the developing be.

  2. Oh, I thought the same thing: why did she wait so long? Perhaps, as “Whispering” suggested, folks only took pictures of really special occasions.

  3. I’m interested in her comment that not everyone who was invited came. Perhaps she was hoping a particular person was going to be there, but she’s not ready to admit that yet – not even to her diary.

  4. How exciting! And yes, it was probably as exciting and daunting as my first computer purchase–I left it sit in the box for over a week after purchasing from Gateway, back in 1997. (I can still remember that huge box of cow spots!)

  5. I wondered too it it wasn’t because of the price of the film. And it may have been intimidating to learn to thread the film through the camera. There were no film cartridges then. And you generally waited till you took all 12 pictures before getting the film developed. Too bad she didn’t leave you copies of her pictures in that diary!

  6. It’s not like today when you get a camera and just start shooting willy nilly. Back then I imagine, you would wait for a worthy occasion so as to not waste money on film and processing?

  7. Before cell phones and digital cameras my dad would take pictures on special occasions and vacations. People weren’t in the habit of taking a camera with them wherever they went! I wonder what subjects your grandmother liked to photograph! 🙂

  8. WOW!!! What a cool camera. Clearly was one of the precursors to my parent’s Kodak Brownie Box Camera which captured all of our special childhood moments… I LOVE old cameras!!! 😀

  9. I remember my first camera. It was the first ‘automatic’ camera where you did not have wind the film on, there was a ratchet that you moved that automatically stopped in the correct place. The first roll of film was 12 photos and I took them over the next month. I had to choose my shots carefully.
    These days we take 12 photos in 12 minutes. It is a much different world.

  10. I really fancy old camera’s of all types. When we were really little we had one of those smaller ones that took rolling film and had a big silver dish on top that you stuck a bulb in for every shot. I wish I still had it!

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