NO. 4 KODET CAMERA
Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York 1894-1897
The No. 4 Kodet Camera was manufactured in the U.S. between 1894-1897, with 1,413 units produced. It was capable of taking 4x5 images on either plates or roll film. The rear compartment was capable of holding either three double plate holders or a Kodet Roll Holder with a 48-exposure capacity.
As an economical alternative to Eastman's string-sets and Folding Kodak (satchel series) cameras, the Kodets were simpler in construction. As a whole, they suffered from poor leather which in turn resulted in the loss of loading and viewing doors that were leather-hinged. This, together with lower than average production figures, makes finding really nice examples very difficult today.
What has always drawn me to these cameras, is the quarter-sawn sycamore wood used in their construction. No matter what the exterior looks like, the inside is a sight to behold. Despite being the cheaper alternative, these box-style Kodet interiors ended up being more attractive than their upscale string-set counterparts.
In contrast to most surviving No. 4 Kodets, this example is complete and in beautiful condition, fitted with an Eastman roll holder. The No. 4 Kodet was available from the factory with either an Achromatic or Rapid Rectilinear lens. This example, sold through William C. Cullen, New York has their ivoroid nametag affixed to the front door's interior. The lens, marked "4x5 Rapid Rectilinear, Optimus, W.C. Cullen, Agent, New York" has its lens cap and a set of Waterhouse stops mounted at the front inside. The Optimus lens, which featured prominently on Scovill's Detective Camera during the late 1880's, was no doubt installed as an upgrade to Eastman's original equipment.
Cameras in the Kodet series, whether of the box or folding style, are among the hardest to find of Eastman's earlier cameras from the 1890's.