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No. 2 Bullet (1895)

Releathered model, no serial number visible.

 Model with serial number 433.

This is a copycat camera of the historical important Boston Camera Manufacturing Company Bull's-Eye of 1892. The Boston Bull's-Eye combined for the first time three important innovations:

  1. front-roll design
  2. red windows for reading number on film
  3. "cartridge style" daylight-loading film spool

These innovations made the camera more compact, cheaper and easier to use than contemporary box cameras.

George Eastman recognized a good idea when he saw one and that was certainly the case with the Bull’s-Eye camera. At first, he regarded the new design as a threat to his own line of cameras and tried to hinder production of the Boston Bull's-Eye on legal grounds, claiming that it infringed on Eastman patents. When that did not succeed Eastman changed course and started to use the design himself. On December 15, 1894 he ordered a first batch of 200 cameras that copied the Bull’s-Eye design. The camera was called Bullet and the first batch of No. 2 Bullet cameras was shipped from his camera making factory on February 15 and appeared on the market in March 1895. Eastman ordered another 1500 cameras in February and March 1895.  

In the summer of 1895 Eastman bought the Boston Camera Mfg. Co. and continued their cameras in more or less redesigned versions as the Kodak Bull's-Eye cameras. The Kodak No. 2 Bull's-Eye appeared as soon as August 1895. The original Bullet camera was redesigned and appeared as Improved No. 2 Bullet in 1896.

Although this Bullet camera is a copycat, it has some claim to fame: it is the first Eastman Kodak camera with the red window and the two other innovations. Sometimes this is attributed to the Pocket Kodak of 1895, but that is a mistake. 

This photo was taken with a Bullet in July 1895. Below a 1895 ad.