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No. 2 Eureka (1897)

During the later years of the 1890's a lot of small firms produced cheap and simple plate cameras. It was a field not protected by patents, as was the case with roll film cameras, which made it easy to start manufacturing simple cameras. These cheap instruments were sold to the growing number of amateur photographers.
To compete with all these plate cameras Eastman Kodak did put their own model on the market: the Eureka cameras. There are several sizes, but all are cheap and simple.

The models are:

The No. 2 Eureka was introduced in June 1897 and discontinued in 1899. It took pictures of 3.5 x 3.5 inch (9 x 9 cm) on glass plates in double plate holders. Three of these holders were stored in the back and could be reached by a side door. In the video this door can be seen on top. Plate holders could be replaced with a roll holder.

The settings are quite basic:

  • The shutter is of the rotary type with only one speed.
  • By pulling a small tab (next to the reflecting finder) the shutter can be stopped at the open position to make time exposures.
  • At the side of the camera that is not visible in the video, there is a small lever which is used to change the aperture. For usual outdoor snapshot work this was not necessary.
  • The lens is a simple fixed focus one, so the distance did not have to be set.
All the Eurekas are made of thin wood and not so good quality leather. The No. 2 Eureka cost $ 4, one dollar less than the Pocket Kodak. A total of 14,000 were made.