Between 1914 and 1932 Kodak released a range of cameras incorporating the Autographic feature which used a special film. This was patented by Henry J. Gaisman and permitted the photographer to write information on the film at the time of the exposure.
Gaisman sandwiched a tissue-like carbon paper between the film and the paper backing. Using a little trap door in the back of the camera to gain access to the paper backing the photographer could, using a metal stylus that came supplied with the camera and some pressure, inscribe a title on the film.
Why this innovation never appealed to the millions of Autographic camera users needs a lot of
analysis and study. Therefore it was something of a thrill when I encountered a set of prints
in London some years back, which had come from an Autographic camera that took pictures
measuring 10.5 x 6 cm.
On the Federal Pass
Katoomba (Blue Mountains)
By a process of elimination and bearing in mind the date written on
the photographs (June 1925), I was able to match these up with a 1A
Autographic Special camera which we have in our collection at the Centre.
This has a rangefinder device and was in production from 1917 to 1926.
While the images I got in Islington are from the Blue Mountains in Australia, they are at least dated and captioned on the back as well as on the salvage around the print.
A couple of these prints are reproduced here.
Leura Falls, Blue Mountains
End of Federal Pass