Vest Pocket Kodak (1912 - 1914)
This 1912 Vest Pocket Kodak really fits in a vest pocket, or any other pocket. That is why it was a favorite of the soldiers of World War 1. It's not so easy to judge the camera size in the video, but it is quite small, measuring only 1 x 2 3/8 x 4 3/4inch (2.5 x 6 x 12 cm). It took pictures of 1 5/8 x 2 1/2 inch (4 x 6.4 cm) on roll film.
The Vest Pocket Kodak was introduced in April 1912 and replaced by the Vest Pocket Autographic Kodak in 1915. During this short period 200,000 were produced. Its price with a meniscus lens was $ 6 and with a slightly better Kodak Anastigmat $12. A Special version was also sold for $ 25 and this one had a very good quality lens.
My example in the video is an early 1912 model, but the camera can be found in many variations. Two big changes were:
- the introduction of the autographic VPK's in 1915, allowing to write on the film when it was still in the camera.
- the change to a drop bed style during the mid 1920's instead of the former lazy tongs construction.
The camera is not rare at all, but in the history of popular photography it is a important instrument that was used by many to document the fast changing world of the 1910'and 1920's.
The photos above show the pre-autographic VPK manual and my Vest Pocket Kodak with a tiny "Kodak V.P.K. Album". The album can contain 12 VPK photos. The size of the album is 2 2/3 x 3 3/5 inch (67 x 90 millimeter). I can well imagine that many a World War One soldier took to the trenches such a small album with photos of his beloved ones, tucked away somewhere in his pockets.
Below both sides of a Kodak leaflet in my collection, dating from late 1914 or early 1915 and addressing French soldiers that were going to the battle fields of World War One. Title: Le Kodak du soldat. Size 38 x 43 cm or 15 1/6 x 17 1/6 inch.
These graphics show the number of VPK's that were ordered by the Eastman Kodak Co. to be manufactured. The first batch was ordered in December 1911.
Source: Moyes list (1921). Numbers after 1920 are unknown.