Vintage KODAK AD, 1949

I'm always interested in the ads Kodak ran to convince people of the importance of taking snapshots of their lives. When you look at other ads for the competition, specifically for cameras, they simply don't have the same feeling Kodak was pushing.

This ad dates from Collier's magazine, August 1949.

Kodak ad_August 1949_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

Kodak knew how to push emotional buttons. Early on they knew how freeing a camera was for a woman and most of the very early ads featured women with cameras having fun. Then they pushed the idea of family memories. I'm not even sure what they're pushing today. I don't think I've paid attention or noticed a Kodak ad in a long time.

And let me just say, even though I really enjoy my digital cameras, I miss film. I miss the smell of the film when you opened up the bag and took out the little metal can. I still have a few of those old cans, used before they went to the plastic "cans" which were useful, but never as fun.

Things change, they say for the better. Everything is geared towards faster and easier. I guess I never found loading film into a camera to be a chore. I enjoyed threading it on the sprockets. Now I just have to make sure I turn the flash card in the right direction and never have to worry about changing it on a sunny day.

But bless Kodak for pushing the use of their product. Without it I doubt this blog would exist.


  1. Ah, the smell of film and the metal cans, My parents bought me a secondhand Kodak Brownie camera for my tenth birthday (circa 1960) and the first thing I ever shot was the Fosbury Lion in a park in Reading - my first war memorial dating from the late 1800s. Great advert, by the way - 1949? Ahead of its time.

  2. Ah, someone who remembers that smell. The seal was broken, the smell burst forth.

    Do you still have the first shots you took? I can't find mine, but know they were my folks and friends at Waikiki beach

  3. I had a Brownie too, still have some of the pictures I took, circa 1960. You'd have a field day with them, but would they be vernacular if you knew the source?

  4. My feeling is that even if the photographer is known it's still vernacular. It wasn't shot with the idea of commercial needs, simply someone documenting life. So yeah Maureen, I'd say vernacular.

    By the way, hope things are going well for you.

  5. In the 50s my mom worked as George Eastman's secretary. He liked to play games with her while he was giving dictation, like throwing in a 50 cent word that would be difficult for her to put into shorthand. He also abhorred poor posture. If you slouched in his company he'd come up behind you and give you a knuckle in the spine and say "blue button!" My mom enjoyed working for him and although she worked for another 40 years, she doesn't tell as many stories about bosses she had in the future. Did you know the name Kodak was completely made up? The original George Eastman liked the sound of the letter K.

  6. Norkio, thanks for the great information. Sounds like Eastman was quite a man demanding perfection from those around him. He certainly left quite a legacy. And I had no idea Kodak was a made up word. Well, he certainly chose correctly because it became the word associated with the advancement of the general public being involved with photography. Thanks!