Roll 33 – No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera – Historic Print Making Exercise

Roll 33 are images printed with a No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera.  Though in the most technical sense, this should probably not be included here, however, this was such an interesting experience that I thought you all might enjoy it. Home processing using the then new Brownie developing kits made photography almost instant…at least for the early 20th century. This enlarging camera was cutting edge when it went even further mading it possible to go beyond contact printing to enlarging.

The model I have is made for 6cmx9cm negatives…we know this by it’s name. No. 2 in the Brownie world not only means 120 film but this particular size negative produced.  There are other models of this enlarger and by their names we know what size negatives they are intended to use. Mine was the 2nd model type produced and actually has extra inserts making it retro so that 6cmx6cm negatives could also be used…innovative for the early 1900’s.

Brownie Camera – No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera – Prints

Camera: No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera
Paper: Ilford Mulitgrade RC
Process: Ilford Mulitgrade

This No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera advertisment illustrates how it principally works.

This No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera advertisment illustrates how it was designed to work.

The negative is placed under the glass. The negative must be cut to size as this will not accommodate film stripes. The spring holders are placed just over the edge of the glass to hold it and the negative in place.

The top of the No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera where the negative is placed. Though this is usually used wih 6cmx9cm negatives, a wood adapter was with mine for 6cmx6cm negatives...sort of backwards compatible for the times.

The top of the No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera where the negative is placed. Though this is usually used wih 6cmx9cm negatives, a wood adapter was with mine for 6cmx6cm negatives…sort of backwards compatible for the times.

This is the lens located in the middle of the enlarger. The only adjustment is a small metal f/hole to be swapped in or out depending on the light source strength.

The mid-section of the No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera where the lens is.

The mid-section of the No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera where the lens is.

The is the bottom of the enlarger. The flap is unbuttoned, opened, and the 5″x7″ paper is inserted.

The bottom of the No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera where the paper is placed.

The bottom of the No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera where the paper is placed.

When everything is in place the whole unit is exposed to a light source. I first did a graduated test strip, exposing the negative in 6 steps to get a fairly accurate length of time for the final exposures. I loaded the enlarger in my darkroom then went outside and used the overcast sky as my light source. Then it went right back into the darkroom and got processed. I wanted to use my No. 2 Brownie Developing kit to keep the process as historically accurate as possible, but the trays were for a slightly smaller size paper. I did use the graduates and paper safelight. The developing kit was my mother’s and was then given to me for my first “darkroom”!

This turned out to be easier than I anticipated, it was alot of fun and the results were surprisingly good.  Besides that, I got to experience what the first motivated home snapshot photographers went though.

This image was taken with an original Brownie Camera. The camera uses 117 film which is the same size as 120 making respooling easy.  Fortunately, this camera came with 2 spools and that's what I call luck!!

This image was taken with an original Brownie Camera. The camera uses 117 film which is the same size as 120 making respooling easy. Fortunately, this camera came with 2 spools…that’s what I call luck!!

This was also taken with my original Brownie Camera.

This was also taken with my original Brownie Camera.

This image was taken with a Holga camera but I wanted a print of it from this enlarger.

This image was taken with a Holga camera but I wanted a print of it from this enlarger.

 

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12 thoughts on “Roll 33 – No. 2 Brownie Enlarging Camera – Historic Print Making Exercise

    • My eyes are ALWAYS open for anything photographic. It took me over 20 years to find that particular Brownie camera. I came across this enlarger when cruising around eBay one Sunday evening, noted it, and went back for the last 5 minutes and outbid everyone…I had to have it!

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  1. My mother described using one of these to enlarge negatives at their farm in Maine. I never found a diagram for how one worked.

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