I remember getting my first camera, but I have already told that story more times than I need to.
When Kodak made it possible for people to have a camera of their own, that must have been truly exciting, I can imagine people furiously practicing "aim and press the button", taking photos of just about anything and everything. One wonders if this was taken by one of those lucky folks who had not yet mastered framing a shot, or perhaps it was intentional, we will never know. Someone loved it enough to save it for all of these years, it must have meant something to them,perhaps it was someones first photograph, or sadly their last, or even just tickled someones sense of humor. An older sibling tormenting a younger or the other way round.
Was it meant as a gift?
~~photos by http://www.etsy.com/shop/AndSoForth
The Brownie camera was a simple, black, rectangular box covered in imitation leather with nickeled fittings. To take a "snapshot," all one had to do was hold the camera waist height, aim, and turn a switch. Kodak claimed in its advertisements that the Brownie camera was "so simple they can easily [be] operated by any school boy or girl" (excerpt from an ad in Cosmopolitan Magazine, July 1900). Though simple enough for even children to use, a 44-page instruction booklet accompanied every Brownie camera.
Making Photography Affordable
The Brownie camera was very affordable, selling for only $1 each. Plus, for only 15 cents, a Brownie camera owner could buy a six-exposure film cartridge that could be loaded in daylight. Kodak promised to develop the film for the camera's owner, rather than the owner having to invest in materials and a darkroom.
Marketed to Children
Kodak heavily marketed the Brownie camera to children. In ads, the camera was accompanied by the very popular Brownie characters, elf-like creatures created by Palmer Cox. Ads for the Brownie camera appeared in popular magazines, rather than just trade journals. Children under the age of sixteen were also urged to join the Brownie Camera Club, a free club in which they could earn prizes for good photos and receive a Photographic Art Brochure.
Lots and Lots of Brownies
No longer was taking photographs just for the professionals and only of grand events, the Brownie camera allowed the capturing of birthdays and other family events. In just the first year, the Eastman Kodak Company sold over a quarter of a million Brownies, forever changing the future of photography.~~By Jennifer Rosenberg, About.com Guide