|Kodak's cutest sheet film camera?|
The Premoette Junior was made ca. 1910 by the remains of the Rochester Optical Co. which kept alive the Premo camera series at Eastman Kodak Co.. An inscription in its back door says "Manufactured by Eastman Kodak Co., successors to Rochester Optical Co., Rochester, N.Y., U.S.A". The camera was made for use with Premo 2¼×3¼" daylight-loading film pack. Three variants were made:
- with single lens and Ball Bearing Shutter - price 5 US-Dollars
- with Planatograph lens and Ball Bearing Shutter - price 7½ US-Dollars
- with Kodak Zeiss Anastigmat and Ball Bearing Shutter - price 28 US-Dollars (Premoette Jr. Special)
A Premo film pack (maybe equal to Kodak type 520 film pack) for 12 exposures cost 40 Cents. It was easy to handle. It had to be put into the camera back. Then the pack's "safety cover" paper stripe had to be pulled out of the back. After each exposure one of 12 numbered paper tabs had to be pulled out of the camera back. Obviously an easy task. Pulling the twelfth tab even meant to shut the whole film pack light-tight for removal.
The construction of this metal bodied folding camera seems to be unique. The Back door holds the film pack in the image frame. The front door opens not full 90 degrees like any other folding camera's front door. Instead during opening the door a strut automatically finds the position in which it holds the front door fixed in a ca. 75 degree angle. The outer end of the opened front door shows two slits. A badge in the front door explains: "Use front slot for objects 6 to 20 feet away. Use back slot for objects more than 20 feet away." That means that these slots are the camera's focusing facility. When the door is open the nice chrome plated lens standard has to be pulled out of the camera to unfold the bellows. The lens board has to be fixed manually in one of the focusing slits. The standard equipment of the camera is a collapsible Newton type viewfinder. The suppementary turnable reflecting type finder shown in the image above may have been an optional accessory. The Premoette Junior No. 1 was a variant which had a built-in brilliant finder instead.
The miniature version of the Ball Bearing Shutter (Patented Jan. 18th 1910) together with some chrome plated parts is what makes this small black leatherette-coated sheet film camera so cute. The everset three-blade leaf shutter offers speeds 1/25 sec, B, T, and 1/50 sec., and a multi-blade diaphragm with stop scale values 1, 2, 3, and 4. Surprisingly this shutter is almost as small or even smaller than the shutter's other miniature variant of the Vest Pocket Kodak.