The Brownie was a series of camera models made by Eastman Kodak. Released in 1900.

It introduced the snapshot to the masses by addressing the cost factor which had meant that amateur photography remained beyond the means of many people; the Pocket Kodak for example would cost most families in Britain nearly a whole month’s wages.

The Brownie was a basic cardboard box camera with a simple convex-concave lens that took 2 1/4-inch square pictures on No. 117 roll film. It was conceived and marketed for sales of Kodak roll films. Because of its simple controls and initial price of US$1 (equivalent to $35 in 2022) along with the low price of Kodak roll film and processing, the Brownie camera surpassed its marketing goal.

It was invented by Frank A. Brownell for the Eastman Kodak Company. Named after the Brownie characters popularised by the Canadian writer, Palmer Cox, the camera was initially aimed at children. Over 150,000 Brownie cameras were shipped in the first year of production, and cost a mere 5 shillings in the United Kingdom. An improved model, called No. 2 Brownie came in 1901, which produced larger 3.25-by-2.25-inch (1.44:1 aspect ratio) photos and cost $2 and was also a huge success.

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