Case #007: A Farmer and His Wife
The No. 2A Folding Autographic Brownie was first introduced November 1915 and was discontinued in 1926. They made a few alterations in that time, and I was able to pinpoint this Kodak Brownie, to about 1920.
I found this old medium format camera at a flea market. When I asked the owner if there was film in it, he opened the back before I could protest. I thought for sure whatever was on there was lost but he assured me it was would up on the one end for the most part. Skeptical, but wanting a camera like this for awhile anyway, I purchased it.
Even though the red plastic view hole on the back was broken, further exposing the film, I was nervous about developing it myself. So I took it to an expert who said he didn’t have spools for this size film.
[rant] There aren’t a lot of professional darkrooms left, and you’d think the remaining ones would carry some oddball sizes just in case, then charge a premium! [/rant]
So with a little brains, and even less tape, I took a Paterson spool and made it slightly wider.
It takes 116 medium format film, which is pretty massive and the camera itself shoots large, wide negatives. Below I made a comparison to 35mm film.
This roll in particular is Kodak Verichrome Pan, and the manufacture code indicates it was produced in Canada in either 1932 or 1943. Because Kodak reused their codes every 11 years until 1950, I can’t be sure. Neither answer would surprise me based on the image.
I’m very happy to have even just one photo from this whole extravaganza!
We have a farmer and his wife on the back up a trailer. He’s holding a shovel, so they may be unloading something. The photographer is on something, enough to raise them slightly. Could be a hill, a fence… an automobile! There’s been enough light exposed, trickling in over time to fade out any detail of the faces. The image looks somewhat posed, so they probably know one another.
What follows on the roll of film is what appears to be overexposed frames. The shutter did stick intermittently when I bought it, that seems a good bet. The camera was produced in 1920, and the film manufactures code indicates Canada 1932/1943. Though the image itself screams early 20th century, I don’t see any clues to narrow that time gap.
UPDATE: NOVEMBER 27TH, 2014
Thanks to Greg for the comment: “Looks to be a screw type grain auger in the grain storage bin behind the trailer. Screw type grain augers were not available till 1953 so I would think the picture would be late 50s to early 60s, also fits with the type of trailer and wheels on it.”
None the less it’s an amazing example of how resilient film it. Even though the back was opened, the rolled up negatives protected the very first frame, and in this case, seemed to be the only proper exposure before camera failure anyhow….crazy.