Buffalo Island Museum Talk

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
A display of vintage cameras can be seen at Buffalo Island Museum in Monette. (photo provided)

Buffalo Island Museum has several vintage cameras on display, including the Rollax's Photo Master, Imperial Camera's Insta-Cube, Kodak Brownie, Ansco Shur Shot, and the Polaroid Electric Eye, Model J66, pictured here. Remember when we were so happy to have a camera that would print the pictures right there in the camera? Now looking at old family albums, those photos are the ones that are blurry with fading color.

Photographic cameras date back to ancient China, using a device that used a pinhole to project an image. Some earlier cameras were room-sized with space for a person inside. In 1839, the first practical photographic method was invented. It was the daquerreotype.

The first time cameras were small enough to be handheld was in 1871 with the invention of the gelatin dry plate. Cameras became more refined and in 1948, Polaroid introduced the first instant picture camera. It was the model 95,and was known as the Land Camera after the inventor, Edwin Land. Mr. Land had founded his company in 1937. He invented the instant camera after his daughter had remarked that she thought that developing photos took too long. He took the process of developing a print from a negative and making it all in one sheet. When the film was taken from the camera, a chemical would spread over the negative and develop the picture. He patented this chemical process that produced a final print from the exposed negative in less than a minute.

Cameras have changed and improved throughout the years and in 1990, the first commercially available digital camera was available in the United States. It was the Dycam Model One. It was only black and white and cost around $1000. Companies as Kodak, Minolta and Nikon have improved the digital cameras. These digital cameras use no film, but capture and save the photos on digital memory cards. They can use wireless communications capabilities as W-Fi and Bluetooth to transfer, print or share photos, and are found on mobile phones.

Buffalo Island Museum is closed during the winter months. Check out the museum's Facebook page for updated information about the museum.

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