a material thing

Wooden View Camera with brass trim – like the brass microscopes of the day

Toronto. Have you ever wondered why the older view, box and folder cameras were made of wood with a leather, paper, or varnish coating? Or that the new 35 mm minicams were mostly metal. That some cameras were bakelite and other plastics? or that plastic and exotic metals like titanium are used today?

Cameras (aside from the lenses made of glass in a brass or other metal housing) were made from materials in common use at the time. As the popular use of wood gave way to metal and the ability to cast shapes, so camera designs changed, Around the world war 2 era, some cameras were made from plastics such as bakelite which could be moulded like metal but were less costly materials.

Modern digital cameras (not part of smart phones) are made of plastic, or for strength and durability, have skins of titanium. One can often picture the era by the material used in everyday cameras.

 

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