The No. 1 Panoram Kodak, manufactured by Eastman Kodak Company of Rochester, New York takes panoramic views covering a 112 degree angle on size 105 roll film. Each exposure measures 2 1/4 x 7 inches. This wide angle photograph is created by a lens that swings through a 180 degree arc.
A spirit level, essential for creating proper panoramic photographs, can be seen on the camera's side, near the carrying strap. A spirit level is also mounted on top of the camera. Evidently, the camera was designed to facilitate vertical panoramic photos as well as the usual horizontal shots. I would like to see an example of a vertical panoramic photograph. I doubt they are very common.
The camera has a brilliant optical viewfinder. The viewfinder lens can be seen above the taking lens. The viewfinder cover is shown in a raised position.
The camera does not have a conventional shutter. Film is exposed as the lens swings in an arc. To arm the swinging lens, a lever, mounted on the camera top is moved left or right depending upon which direction the lens is to move, and latched in place. A small nickel plated button next to the arming lever serves as the release. The lens takes photographs as it moves in either a left-right or right-left direction. The arming lever is simply latched to the opposite side for the next exposure. This lever can be latched in one of two positions on each side. The farthest of the two positions applies greater spring tension and a faster sweep than the closer position. A faster lens sweep results in a shorter exposure time. Thus two levels of exposure are possible. The lens by the way, has a fixed aperture.
Unlike the Baby Al-Vista camera in my collection, it is not necessary to cap the lens of the Kodak Panoram when arming the lens driving spring. On the Baby Al-Vista, capping the lens between exposures was required. Otherwise the film would be exposed to light while arming.
A sheet of soft leather connected to the lens and camera body seals out extraneous light and allows the lens to pivot freely. A hinged door, shown opened, covers the lens opening when the camera is not in use. On this example, the number 10479 is scribed on the inside cover.
This image of the camera removed from its back shell shows the radically curved film plane. Also visible are the horizontal spirit level, lens tensioning lever and viewfinder with raised cover. To the right is the small release button and the film winding key. This camera uses a red window to count exposures.
Notice that the camera body is made entirely of wood with leather covering.
The No. 1 Panoram Kodak was introduced in 1900 and discontinued in 1926. Kodak sold two additional panoramic camera models, the No. 3A and No. 4. Each model produced a different size image and covered a different angle of view.
I'd written that I've never seen a vertical panoramic photograph. That was true until I was contacted by Web visitor Stuart Krasner. Stuart told me he had taken a vertical photo of the Washington Monument with his No. 1 Kodak Panoram on 120 Ektachrome film. He also told me that his No. 1 does not have a spirit level for vertical shots.
Stuart scanned his slide for me to see, and mentioned that the scan color does not quite match the original slide. Stuart generously gave permission to include his striking photograph on this page.
So, here's a modern vertical panoramic photo taken with a century old camera.
Page created September 10, 2001; updated December 20, 2020