Artifact of the Month From Adams Luther Bean Museum

Cheryl Ravens
South Coloradan

No. 2 Folding Cartridge Hawk-Eye Camera Model C*
No. 2A Folding Cartridge Hawk-Eye Camera, Model B*

The Luther Bean Museum proudly showcases two folding cartridge Hawk-Eye cameras as artifacts of the month for September, 2009.  First, a little bit of the history behind the cameras. Boston Camera Company manufactured a line of box cameras, named the Hawk-Eye, in the late 1800’s.  Blair Camera Company, who specialized in the box camera format, bought out Boston Camera Company along with the Hawk-Eye several years later.

Meanwhile, the Eastman Kodak Company was busily designing a new camera to complement to their latest invention, which was roll film.  Blair Camera Company was competing with Kodak to provide a comparable alternative.   Business being business, Eastman Kodak purchased the Blair Camera Company and the Hawk-Eye name in the 1900’s.  Hawk-Eye, under the Kodak name, was the camera destined to be used by the general public.

Production of the Hawk-Eye cartridge camera began at the Eastman Kodak manufacturing plant in Rochester, NY.  These two featured cameras were sisters to the already popular box camera; they folded into a neat rectangle.  Once opened, the camera folds out to a compact platform, with a subject range of 8 – 100 feet.  Aperture settings on the Model C camera can be set to f1, f16, f22, and f32.  An interesting side note of the Model C is that the lens for the aperture is behind the folds; no protective lens covers the front of the camera.  Our Model B camera is fitted with the protective lens and its settings are f8 – f64. Model C is the smaller of the two cameras and it requires a 120 roll film, which is still available today.  Model B requires a 116 film, which is no longer manufactured.  The Model B Hawk-Eye has a patent date of January 18, 1910.  Both cameras have a reflex viewfinder which consists of a small square of frosted glass.

Now a little bit of history about our donor.  Robert Waltman, a 1975 alumnus of Adams State College, donated both cameras to the museum in the fall of 1974.  Mr. Waltman obtained his Baccalaureate degree from Adams State in Art/Photography. He went on to teach photography, photojournalism, nature photography, and digital photography for 28 years at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colorado.  He has since retired, but teaches part time for Aims.  His work has appeared in a number of galleries on the Colorado Front Range.

Mr. Waltman recalls his experience at ASC with fondness.  In a recent telephone interview, he stated that his experience at Adams gave him confidence to pursue his career.  Cloyde Snook was department chair during Waltman’s tenure.  He recalls classes in the art department with Ed Clemmer, Mike Wonser, and Bob Wakefield.  Interestingly, Dr. Robert Buchanan, emeritus professor of history, was a mentor to Mr. Waltman.  During the 1970’s the darkroom was located on the first floor of the ES building and this is where he met Dr. Buchanan. Buchanan had a keen sense of the science behind film development, which he generously shared with Waltman.  At the conclusion of our phone conversation, Waltman offered one piece of advice – “never relinquish your darkroom – it is truly a fine art.”  Spoken like a true photographer.

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