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No. 2 Brownie (1901-1933)

It is not rare, it is not expensive, it even is not pretty, but it is the camera that recorded our history during the first part of the 20th century.
The No. 2 Brownie was made in large numbers: several million and at least 2,500,000 before 1921. Together with the 2A Brownie, which took a slightly larger photo and was also made in several millions, it was the camera that could be found in most families. In all the snaps these cameras have taken, the small and also not so small events of the first half of the last century are documented. For this it deserves a place of honor in camera history.

The No. 2 Brownie was introduced in October 1901, one and a half year after the introduction of the first Brownie. After many small changes it was discontnued in 1933, but its successors were made well into the 1950's.

In the video you can see two early models, the closed one is a model C (1907-1914) and the open one a model D (1914-1917). These earlier models can be recognised by the sliding metal strip that locks the back door. Sometime between 1914 and 1917 this was replaced by a spring catch. Another big change was made in 1924, when the cameras were no longer made of cardboard, but of aluminium.

The camera cost $ 2 and made pictures of 2.25 x 3.25 inch (5.7 x 8.2 cm). It was easy to use, having a simple one-speed shutter and fixed focus lens. You could select two smaller apertures, but this was not necessary for the usual snapshot photography. The shutter also had a time setting for taking flashlight photos.


This is an early model with no model designation. It probably dates from early 1902 until February 1904.

Ad from May 1903.

Above and below sample photos taken with a No. 2 Brownie.