I’ve added another camera to my growing (albeit still small) collection; a 1960s Kodak Brownie Vecta camera to be precise. Stumbling upon the purchase of this old camera was like stepping back in time, in more ways than one.
If I suggested taking a trip to the Pumping Station in Cardiff you’d probably be quick to make up an excuse, thinking it was some sort of rather old and boring water or petrol depot. Well, you wouldn’t be far wrong as it used to be a Victorian sewerage works. However the grade II listed building on Penarth Road is today home to an antiques memorabilia warehouse where you will stumble upon a treasure trove of old clothing and jewellery, books, china, clocks, collectable toys and decorative arts. And then there are cameras.
Nestled in the corner I found a box of old film cameras on which the Brownie Vecta was perched on top. It looks like it was put to good use in its time with scuffs and scratches marking its sides and a broken strap. It does also smell a little dusty but this only adds to its appeal. Dating from 1963 it is a fixed lens, plastic camera with only one shutter speed and was designed by British industrial designer Kenneth Grange. It’s light and small in shape which apparently made it easier to hold in order to minimise camera shake.
A folded and tatty-edged instruction manual at the bottom of the camera bag informs me that it uses 127 film, which a quick Google search reveals is discontinued, so it’s going to be fairly expensive to buy now. The take up spool is missing too but I’ve had a quick look online and luckily it seems I can get one for a few pounds. Other than that the winding knob and shutter seem to be okay so fingers crossed it will work. To be honest though, considering the small amount I paid for it and the condition it is in doesn’t hold out much hope but this only adds a bit of excitement (will it work? Won’t it work?) and I like a good challenge. Watch this space.
|| Have you shot a Kodak Brownie before or used 127 film – then feel free to share your experiences?!
|| Interested to know more about the Pumping Station, why not read Offbeat Cardiff’s blog post.