No. 1A Pocket Kodak 1926-1931

Note: Special thanks to John Shriver for his description of the Autographic process.

Many older Kodaks were "autographics." Autographic film was pretty complicated, you didn't just scratch the film. The backing was two layers. The outer layer was more of a tissue paper, somewhat translucent, but it may still have been red. The inner layer was carbon paper, with the carbon facing out. When you wrote with the stylus, the carbon went to the outer backing paper. Then you exposed the open door to the light, and the light went through the carbon paper where you had transferred the carbon to the outer paper, and exposed your writing on the film. The numbers on the backing paper were further apart to leave room between the exposures for the autographic feature. I think it raised the film price a nickel a roll . The camera above used #116 film which was discontinued in 1984 after an eighty-four year history.

The cameras red window was gone and the number four was visible through the exposure counter hole. I advanced the film to number five and took a photograph. As I advanced to number six I felt the film break. I had little hope for the film.

I opened the camera in my darkroom and the film exited the camera like a rabid snake. Amid streams of obscenities, I managed to get it onto an old reel.


This is frame number one. When you see two guys working inside your engine compartment, the news can't be good. That's a big hoist hanging up there in that tree. That's further bad news. If the tree limbs breaks, these guys will be part of the engine.

It's freezing out but the guy in the middle is beaming the smile of youth. He's got an old car, a hoist in a tree, some buddies and a wrench.

We men like to display our conquests and we rarely smile while doing so. You have to look warrior-like. Whether it's a strung up shark, an unfortunate deer or a plucked engine. We need to look manly and real men don't smile.

The brothers pictured above always got their hair cut together and bought their glasses at Sears.

This is the photograph I took on November 11, 2005. It'll be the last photo ever done with the old Kodak. 116 film is history and I've got other cameras to bring back from the dead. Still, it seems like a little tragedy.