Eastman Kodak Company, U.S.A. for the U.K.          1895 - 1897

  Sold by Eastman Photographic Materials Company, Ltd., London, England         


Eastman Kodak's Flat Folding Kodak was manufactured in Rochester, New York, for sale in the U.K. by the Eastman Photographic Materials Company, Ltd., London, England.


Labeled "The Cyclist and Tourist's Comrade" in an August 23, 1895 advertisement from The Photographic News, it was further touted as the "lightest and most compact camera made", the size being 3-1/2 by 6-1/2 by 8-1/2 inches with a loaded weight of 3 lbs and 4 oz. It also stated the lens to be "perfectly rectilinear and very rapid", along with its roll holder having an improved automatic register and locking device.


Per Brian Coe's Kodak Cameras, the First Hundred Years, the Flat Folding Kodak was equipped with a Rapid Rectilinear lens, 400 cameras were made during 1895-1896 and that it was probably built as a rival to Blair's "The 400" Camera, marketed by the European Blair Camera Company, Ltd., London, as the "Folding Kamaret". 

                          Blair's "The 400" Camera                                                       Blair Folding Kamaret 7x5




The Flat Folding Kodak's design laid the groundwork for Eastman's Cartridge Kodak series, introduced in 1897. The camera's body resembles the No. 4 Cartridge Kodak, with a wood-encased shutter, lens standard and viewfinder that were sourced from a No. 4 Folding Kodet; added to this was rack-and-pinion focusing that wasn't featured on Kodets. Utilizing darkroom loaded "Eastman's Transparent Film", the Flat Folding Kodak's integrated roll film holder held 48 exposures producing 4x5 images.



The example shown here is equipped with a 4x5 Rapid Universal by Bausch & Lomb Optical Company. Another known Flat Folding Kodak is equipped with this same lens, suggesting this may have been the standard for the model:




 Despite using the same shutter, lens standard and viewfinder, it differs from the unmarked Achromatic and Rapid Rectilinear lenses typically found on Eastman's Kodets:                

                No. 4 Folding Kodet with Achromatic Lens               No. 4 Folding Kodet Special with Rapid Rectilinear Lens




With just eight examples currently known, the Flat Folding Kodak is among the rarest (if not THE rarest) of all Kodak cameras.  


My Thanks to Gerjo Quicken, for sharing this great piece from his collection and providing photos of the Flat Folding Kodak and the Blair Folding Kamaret 7x5....And to Rob Niederman for contributing updated information for the Flat Folding Kodak.


For more information on Blair's "The 400" and the Folding Kamaret 7x5, click on the links below:

Blair's "The 400"

The Folding Kamaret 7x5