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May 27, 2007

World's "oldest camera" sold

A camera billed as the world's oldest fetched 600,000 EU (approx. $870,000 US) at auction:

The daguerreotype camera, made by French firm Susse Freres no later than 1839, was found in a German attic and sold at a Vienna auction house.

Bids came from around the world for the daguerreotype, said by an expert to be the only remaining Susse Freres model.

The daguerreotype process, only perfected in 1839, was judged the first viable form of commercial photography. [BBC]


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Actually, these contraptions don't take film, but polished silver plates. Either way, they won't have 'em at Walgreens. But oh, the camera: One of the world's oldest cameras has sold to an anonymous bidder at auction for almost 600,000 euros.... [Read More]


I miss my starter Brownie, and my teen-camera, "The Polaroid Swinger." Is anyone here old enough to remember The Swinger? Is anyone here old enough to remember that there used to be TV commercials for various cameras, and tons of commercials for Kodak Film? Some of those commercials were classics.

Let me know if you get's on topic.

I bought an Olympus 35mm in 1979. It seems to me as though this camera is older than the camera you mention.

I love my new digital machine, but I regret the passing of film, which served us so well for so long.

That's a cute video, but I think I'm missing the reference. I love the hairstyles. Did they use some of that footage in Swinger commercials?

No LB - you youngin you... Forget the hairstyles...we're talkin cameras here girl!!!!

But yeah, the hair styles were bitchen. (Can anyone say Amy Weinhouse?)

But the thing I think I love most about these super 8's is how clearly every body can see how much in love that couple is/was.

When I was a kid I had a couple old Brownies. At the time they were considered junk and now, along with half the other toys I had (and even my old metal lunch box for God's sake!) they're expensive "antiques". Now I myself am approaching antiquedom, but I'm not getting any more valuable.

Along with film cameras I'll miss the little film canisters. Way handy for all sorts of things. The most unusual thing I can remember using them for was to store field-collected milk and blood samples from porpoises. I haven't seen one of the old metal ones for at least ten years now.

--Along with film cameras I'll miss the little film canisters. --


I liked them for storing US/other coins when traveling to/from a foreign country.


I almost always had film developed to labs via the mail. I just loved it when the fat envelope of photos arrived in the mail.

Now, both mail and film are fading away, one very slowly, the other very quickly.

My husband has one last metal film cannister that he used to stub out cigarettes and hold the butts. He misses those old cannisters, I use the small plastic ones to mix and store small amounts of paint.

I can remember some other uses...from, say the '60s.

I don't mean to sound the scold here, but you could stop waxing nostalgic for the days of film and actually help prevent its "passing" by going out and buying some.

I still use it, has some decided advantages to digital, as well as some different problems.

But I actually wanted to write about the daguerreotype. It was the first commercially successful photographic process because Daguerre's brother convinced the French Gov't to buy the patent from him for a pension; and convinced Daguerre to accept it. The French Gov't then made it public domain.

At the same time an Englishman, William Fox Talbot was inventing the Calotype. It had an advnatage over the daguerreotype, in that it was replicable (dageurreotypes were unique, and couldn't be copied).

But Fox Talbot wanted to make money on it, and the prices he was demanding were more than anyone was willing to pay.

So people know about the daguerreotype, but almost no one has heard of the calotype, even though modern photography is, fundamentally, Fox Talbot's calotype process.

I remember the days of the good old darkroom.

(I'm not quite done waxing nostalgic just yet - in fact, I was born nostalgic...when I popped out of the womb, and the Dr. slapped me on the ass, I said to him, "why am I here and not on an art deco transatlantic crossing on my way to Paris in the '20s?)

thanks for sharing about it.

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