Vintage Cameras

For your family history you are very dependent on family photos. To have such a collection someone had to have a camera or have a photo taken at a studio or traveling photographer. Before cameras there just a few drawings, painting or silhouettes images available.

The camera began in 1839 with the daguerreotype. Over the decades of the 1800s the camera and type of photos each did improve. Mostly the size of the camera, it did become lighter and smaller. By the 20th century the camera became very affordable and in most households, someone had a camera.

What is neat is that many of those vintage camera are still workable, decades later. If you don’t have one in the family artifacts, one might purchase a vintage camera in an antique shop or an online auction for a couple hundred dollars or less.

Some well-known and long lasting camera brands include: Kodak, Canon, Pentax, Polaroid, Minolta and Nikon.

If your family does have a vintage camera, you should have it examined by a professional camera restorer to get it in working order and most important show you how to use it. Have the professional check if there are any negatives of photos that have not been developed yet still in the camera. That has happened. Wouldn’t that be a treasure to fine.

So as you are looking over family photos, see if you can figure which were done in a photographer’s studio or by someone in the family. The more formal, it would be in a studio. Photos of a family home could be from a family camera.

Photo: Vintage box camera of the 1920s-40s.

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