Kodak 3A Folding Pocket camera with special lens and shutter option. More details on my Kodak page.
From the autobiography of photographer Arnold Genthe, who made the most famous photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire...."I found that my hand cameras had been so damaged by the falling plaster as to be rendered useless. I went to Montgomery Street to the shop of George Kahn, my dealer, and asked him to lend me a camera. "Take anything you want. This place is going to burn up anyway." I selected the best small camera, a 3A Kodak Special. I stuffed my pockets with films and started out."
The 3A used 122 roll film that produced postcard size negatives 3.25x5.5 in. (Genthe's Negatives)
This is my 1909 Kodak 3A Folding Pocket Model B-4 camera with special option Bausch & Lomb Zeiss Tessar series IIb lens and Compound shutter. This camera is most likely the same type that Genthe used for his earthquake photos. I have researched the early Kodak catalogs and the B&L Zeiss Tessar lens was a special option in 1906 with Volute shutter (the Compound shutter was introduced in 1909). The 3A camera was produced from 1903-1915. In 1910 Kodak introduced the name "3A Special" with the Zeiss lens and Compound shutter but before that time it was a 3A with "special" options. My particular camera has labels from the Earl V. Lewis camera shop in Los Angeles on the top and inside the film compartment. Earl V. Lewis was a well known enlarger and printer in the early 20th century. The shop was in business from 1906-1986.
On the left Chinatown, San Francisco, Ca. c.1900 by photographer Arnold Genthe, looking towards 751-753 Clay St. from Brenham Place (now called Walter U Lum Place).and on the right the same view in 2012. Chinatown was devastated by the great earthquake and fire in 1906 and rebuilt. Note the platform shoes worn by these young girls to mimic the gait of women with bound feet.
Photographer Arnold Genthe shown at left holding camera in Chinatown, San Francisco, Ca. c.1900. Genthe documented old Chinatown before it's destruction in the 1906 quake and fire. He used a handheld "detective" plate camera to record candid images of his subjects without their knowledge
Chinatown, San Francisco, Ca., corner of Jackson St. and Dupont Ave (now Grant Ave), c.1900 (left) by photographer Arnold Genthe and the same corner (right) in 2012. Chinatown was devastated by the great earthquake and fire of 1906 and rebuilt.
© Joseph Greco