Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Autographic Camera

The Kodak Autographic Camera.

It had a slot on the back that allowed the photographer a place to write a brief ID on the edge of the negative. This would identify the photograph or at least remind the photographer what was going on when the photograph was taken.

These cameras were very popular and there should be lots of prints around showing the ID strip on the negative. I suspect however, that many of these "autograhic" strips were lost in the darkroom when they were simply masked out of the print.

There are only a few rescued photographs in the LOST GALLERY that show the telltale markings of a negative that came from one of these unique cameras.

Old Friends

New Additions
Two gentlemen on a bridge

Car Trouble
Car trouble

wagons at lake

The first three in this set were scanned from the original negatives. You can see the raw edges of the negative that would have been masked out in the darkroom. They are shown here at near actual size.

The actual measurement of the three negatives:
3 1/2" X 5 7/8"
(image size 3 3/16" X 5 3/8" inches)

Old sea plane

This one, a print of an airplane, shows three edges of the negative were masked but the ID or autographic strip was left in the print.

The aircraft print is 2 5/8" X 1 3/4"
(image size 2 3/8" X 1 1/2")

It is shown here just about double the actual size.

This is a photograph of twins. It is part of a huge linked collection found in Amarillo, Texas in May 2013. This is the only "Autographic" print among these photographs, most centering around this set of twins. The actual size of the print is 3" X 5 3/16" It is printed on a Post Card backing measuring 3 3/8" X 5 3/8" and is shown here at slightly larger than actual size.

A page of featuring these photographs of twins will be assembled and presented at a later date.


Three Buttes Spring - Colo

Here is a rather unusual one. The label says "Three Buttes Spring - Colo". As far as I can tell, there is no place officially titled "Three Buttes Spring" in Colorado or anywhere.

So maybe it was picture number three of a series at Buttes Spring, Colo. No. There's no Buttes Spring, Colo. either. There are some hike-to-only places called Buttes Spring in Nevada and Arizona. There is also a Twin Buttes Spring in Washington.

Maybe there was a small town with a locally named site they called "Three Buttes" ...or maybe they were just lost.

Or maybe it says, #3, "Buttes Spring, cold."

Also, it appears to be a double exposure on the left quarter of the photograph.

At the lower edge, center, there is a galvanized tub full of water.

It is 5 1/2 X 3 1/8, shown here slightly larger than actual size.

Although this photograph is similar in subject to the one just above, it is probably not connected. The above one was found in Wichita Falls, Texas. This one came from Burleson, Texas.

There is a black strip on the left edge of this one but has no label. It is however, the right size and shape to be from an Autographic camera. But maybe not.

It is 5 3/8 X 3 3/8 inches, shown here slightly larger than actual size.

Girl on a log

There are some other prints in LOST GALLERY that just might be from an autographic camera. They show a black block along the left edge of the print but since it is partially cropped, no writing is visible. Of course the black area could be from a dozen other causes too. I'll add a couple to this page as they turn up.

The most popular photographs most popular, Family Group,
An album of the most requested photographs in the Lost Gallery.

Area 51 and a Half Area 51 and a Half
You are probably not authorized to see these.

Don't take my picture! Oh! You DID didn't you! completely unaware of the photographer
This is a collection of photographs that disappear on the way home from the photo processing shop.

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Cabinet Card Gallery
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Penny Tales
Square America
Tattered and Lost
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The best
sites on the web.
And for postcards try

All images are the property of Lost Gallery and the author. Permission must be granted for their use. All rights reserved.

THE KIDS Lesson one.
It is always a mystery how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.

Dee and the Business School Dee and the Business School
The beautiful Dee. A curious story; What do you see?

Neiffel and Helvetica Typehigh

"What are they doing?"


  1. I should have guessed that you would be the first to respond with a collection of Autographic photographs, but I'm still pretty impressed that you came up with four of them. I guess it's telling that three were negatives! Do you have some measurements for these? That will tell us which of the Autographic cameras they came from.

  2. Any chance I can reproduce a couple of these as a postcscript to my blog article (with full attribution, of course), please? I can't see any way to get in touch with you other than via the comments, but my email address is

  3. Thanks Brett Payne. I was surprised that I had that many too. Too often, negatives get mistreated and lost and don’t survive as long as the prints.

    There is a story I have told many times about a time when I worked in a Photography Shop in the 1950’s. A girl picked up her photographs finished by our lab. She fished out the prints and handed the envelope back to me, instructing me to throw it away. I asked if she wanted the negatives in the envelope. She said: “What do I want with those? I have the prints.”

    I have added the actual measurements to the page.

  4. Thanks very much for the measurements. These indicate that the "breakdown" negatives are A122 film, and were taken with a No #A Autographic Kodak, while the seaplane print is probably from A127 film, used in a Vest Pocket Kodak, otherwise known as the Soldier's Camera. I hope you don't mind if I link to these from my Autographic article, Keeping a Kodak Story?

  5. Sorry, finger trouble. That should have been a No 3A Atographic Kodak.

  6. Thanks Brett Payne. I am glad to post something you can use. I had heard the term "Soldier's Camera" but I didn't associate it with the autographic model.

    I sent you an email also.



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