I have an obsession with vintage Brownie cameras. It started when I was a little girl and found one in my great grandmother’s basement. I asked what the little box was and when I found out it was a camera, I swooned with excitement.
The camera no longer worked and I was ushered out of the basement to watch cartoons or something, but I never forgot about that little Brownie.
Years later as I was strolling through a thrift store looking for pieces to a Halloween costume, what should I spy on a shelf next to some mustard colored 1970’s crockery? Yup, a Brownie! Eek!
Now I have my own collection. Last count I think had about 10, along with some other various types of vintage cameras, but the Brownie still has a most special place in my heart. Particularly the Hawkeye Brownie which is featured here.
This beauty was designed by a brilliant man named Arthur H. Crapsey. I guess you would have to be brilliant if you had a name like Crapsey. Aurther H. designed many of the popular Kodak cameras in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s.
The Hawkeye was introduced in May of 1949 and discontinued in July of 1961. Its body is moulded bakelite. I fall in love with just about anything made of bakelite!
I have this dream that one day I will be sitting in a Country Time Lemonade commercial, you know the one, with the tire swing next to the pond and the golden sun shining above. I’ll be sitting on a picnic blanket and pull my little Hawkeye Brownie out of my picnic basket, and take the most beautiful photos of birds flying and the sun shining through the trees.
Then later I will realize that I can’t find a place locally that still develops film and oops, I forgot to use film in the first place, and I can’t remember which site on the internet has the right 120 film that I need. And well, there goes my perfect little Country Time dream.
So my cameras sit on the shelves collecting dust. But that’s okay, they bring me a little peace of bakelite joy every time I walk by them!
Note to self: Find 120 film, take some actual photos with one of the damned Brownies, get them developed, scan them, put them online and impress the bobby socks off of everyone.