Oct 29, 2011

The Digitized Kodak Catalog Project 1886 to 1941

A couple of weeks ago I received the CD with the Kodak catalogs from 1886 to 1941 that was produced by Rob Niederman and Milan Zahorcak. Now I have had the time to have a good look at it, and here is what I found.
When you put the CD in the drive it starts the explorer (if you have a Windows computer, I don't know about Apple), in which you will see a list of 9 folders and files.
There is a START-HERE.html file and it is quite obvious that you have to start by double clicking that one. Doing so opens a page in your internet browser that acts as a kind of menu. You can choose between several options, like clicking on one of the catalogs.
The picture below on the left shows the menu page.
You can go directly to a catalog by clicking once on the picture of the catalog you want. A PDF opens with the complete catalog. You can scroll through it in the usual PDF way. See the pic below right.

A very nice option is that you can search every word in the catalog. I did so with the word "enlarging". See the illustration. With the 'next' and 'previous' arrows you can navigate through the search results.

This is one way to find information, but there is more. Remember the START-HERE page. One of the menu options is: globally searching the catalog library. Click on it and a new page opens with instructions how to search all the catalogs with one search. This is a real magnificent option. Imagine, you can find every word in all the Kodak catalogs from 1886 to 1941! I tried it with "folding kodet" and got a list of hits.

On the left you see the list of hits. Every catalog in which the search string 'folding kodet' is found is presented as a folder. You can open the folder and see all the pages from that catalog in which the search string was found. Click on one of these and on the right you get that page. See the pic above.

Are there things you can not do? Yes, you can not print a catalog. But who should want that? If you need an illustration of a camera or catalog text, you can make a screen print and trim it with any picture editor.

This digital collection is one of the best things that happened to the Kodak collector for many years. You can not only find info on a camera, but also read the forewords in the catalogs. These often contain information about the important developents of that year and the way Eastman Kodak tried to make use of them.

I am happy with this CD? Yes! Should you buy it? I would say 'yes', but that is what you have to decide yourself. I hope this description is helpful.

To end this blog I show one page from the 1895 catalog about the Pocket Kodak.

On the page you read about a Plate holder for the Pocket Kodak, a very rare item, but I am so lucky to have one in my collection. What I do not have is a Pocket Kodak in its case. There was a very fine one on eBay, but the starting price of Uncle Sam $ 475 was a bit high. I hoped no one would bid and the camera would be relisted, but no, someone did bid and got it for the $ 475 plus $ 40 postage. Ten years ago I would not have hesitated to go for it, but nowadays this price is too much. I will wait for another one to turn up.

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