This picture machine has been in my dad’s garage for at least 30 years, he can’t remember how it came to him, but now it’s come to me.

It’s a 3A Autographic Kodak Special Model B. Kodak’s first rangefinder camera, the “Autographic” means that when Autographic film was used with it, the photographer could open a window in the back of the camera to make notes with a special stylus on the red, lightproof backing paper. This would deteriorate the paper enough that the writing could then be exposed onto the film by a 3-10 second exposure to light. This writing was then visible in the resulting negatives and prints.

I believe it’s about a century old, it has a little muck in the lens but the camera is largely in brilliant condition. It takes 122 film, but I think I can probably expose a roll of 120 through it with some fiddling. Failing that, photosensitive paper could catch a negative image to be inverted.

Also brilliant discovery: the camera manual.