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.
2619 Octavia St., San Francisco, Ca. This was the home of Dr. Millicent Cosgrave in 1906. Located in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, the house survived the great earthquake and fire.
The famous photographer Arnold Genthe lost his apartment and studio on Sutter street when it was dynamited by fire crews as the fire spread across the City.
From the autobiography of photographer Arnold Genthe in the aftermath of the '06 quake and fire.....
"In the Frank Cowderys' home on Maple Street and later on in the Octavia Street home of Dr. Millicent Cosgrave (whose friendship throughout these years has meant so much to me) I had found a haven of rest. For several weeks I did not concern myself with any thought of the future. I blithely continued to take photographs."
Ansel Adams (1902-1984) American photographer. Adams was born in San Francisco in 1902. In 1903, his family moved to a new home near the Seacliff neighborhood. The home sat on a bluff surrounded by sand dunes and had a view of the Golden Gate and the Marin Headlands. (From wikipedia:) Uninjured in the initial shaking of the 1906 earthquake, the four-year-old Ansel Adams was tossed face-first into a garden wall during an aftershock three hours later, breaking his nose. The house still stands today in it's original location although it has been extensively remodeled. Adams built another house adjacent to it that he lived in until 1962 when he moved to Carmel, Ca.
San Francisco view South on Van Ness Avenue (at Green St.) after the 1906 earthquake and before the fire approached. Photo by JB Monaco. Water mains are destroyed; St. Brigid Church in background. The East side of Van Ness Ave (left) was dynamited a block deep to create a fire break and finally stop the fire from spreading to the Western Addition and Cow Hollow.
San Francisco view down Kearny St. at Broadway after the 1906 earthquake and fire. A block down from Broadway at the intersection of Kearny and Columbus Ave. (at that time it was called Montgomery Ave.) is the Sentinel (Flatiron) Bldg. which was under construction at the time of the quake. It is now called Columbus Tower and is owned by director Francis Ford Coppola.
In 1876, railroad baron Charles Crocker built one of the largest mansions on Nob Hill, San Francisco. It was burned to the ground in the great 1906 fire. The second photo shows the fence around his property which still stands today. In the background of that photo are the remains of the Flood mansion and the steel framed Fairmont Hotel, the only two buildings on the hill that survived the fire.
Nob Hill in San Francisco at the turn of the century was the home to some of the richest men in the country. James Flood was one of the Bonanza Kings and made his fortune in Comstock mining and stock trading. His mansion was made of sandstone and survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. It still stands today. The incredible all wood mansion of railroad baron Mark Hopkins at the corner of California and Mason burned to the ground in the fire. The Mark Hopkins hotel now stands in it's place.
"Looking Down Sacramento St., San Francisco, April 18, 1906". The most famous of all the earthquake photographs taken by the great photographer Arnold Genthe. It is considered to be one of the greatest historical photographs ever taken. Genthe lost his equipment in the quake and borrowed a Kodak 3A Special from his camera dealer George Kahn's shop on Montgomery St. He loaded his pockets with film and walked around the City taking photographs. The shot was taken on Sacramento St. between Powell and Stockton St. (at Miles Place) on the morning of the quake at 9 a.m. as the fire began raging. Note cable car slot in street at that time. The alley Miles Place is now called Miller Place. I took my shot at 8:23 a.m. on a foggy, holiday morning.
© Joseph Greco