Copyright ©2011 by Rob Niederman - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
How I love strange camera designs. The two Kozy
cameras shown here were introduced in the late 1890s
and represent an unusual departure from traditional
self-casing, folding camera designs. Instead of using
the classic drop-bed design, Hiram A. Benedict (the
inventor) created a novel camera that opened like a
book with red leather bellows fanning out like pages.
The overall design is somewhat fragile, making any Kozy
Camera a rare find regardless of the condition.
Three versions of the Pocket Kozy Camera were
produced. The first model (1896 - the year the
company was incorporated) opened with the bellows
facing the rear of the camera and the lens / shutter
located in the "spine" position. The second and third
models placed the bellows to the side. All versions made
12 or 18 exposures, 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches, on rollfim.
What is referred to by collectors as the 'flat face' Kozy
was advertised as the No.2 Kozy Camera; while an
improved third model with a leather covered, round
front end was marketed as the Pocket Kozy. Although
collectors often call these 'Pocket Kozy Cameras," only
the 1898-99 model carries the 'pocket' designation.
Kozy Cameras were made for the amateur market and
the 1898 model sold for $10 (about $204 in equivalent
year 2000 dollars).
Until George Eastman's historic "You Press The Button, We Do The Rest" approach to marketing, many companies tried novel ways to mass market
their cameras (also refer to the Putnam Marvel story). Hiram's unique approach to sell his simple camera was equally creative. Realizing that $10 (in
1898) could be a lot of money for amateurs, he set aside 1,000 cameras for prospective buyers to use on a 10 day trial, as described in the
following 1898 advertisement excerpt:
Kozy Cameras, 1897 & 98
Kozy Camera Company. Boston, Mass.
Comparison of the No.2 Kozy Camera (left) and the later Pocket Kozy. It's interesting
to note that the word "pocket" was not used in the model name until the 1898 version.
No.2 Kozy Camera shown with its rare, leather bicycle case. According
to the 1897 catalogue, the case was made to order for $2.
Send us your name and address, mentioning this magazine, and stating occupation and references, with a deposit of $1.00.
The Kozy will be forwarded all charges prepaid. For ten days after its receipt, you are to test the camera to your satisfaction.
If at the expiration of that time, you decide to keep it, you are to send us $2.00, and thereafter $2.00 a month for 5 months,
making a total payment of $13.00. Or, if you are not completely satisfied after ten days' trial, you are to return the camera to
us, charges prepaid, and we will immediately refund your deposit of $1.00. This special offer will be withdrawn on April 30, or
sooner if the 1,000 cameras are taken before that date. If you prefer to send cash in full with application, we will furnish the
new Kozy for $10.00 cash until April 30. Catalogues and full particulars free with application.
The "try and buy" promotion had even loftier aspirations. In the same 1898 advertisement, the company's stated objective was to, "open the way
for a sale of 100,000 in 1898." ( !!! ) Given the rarity of any model Kozy Camera, it is probably safe to assume the company's goal of selling 100,000
cameras fizzled. The [100,000] milestone would have to wait for George Eastman in another couple years.
1898 catalogue insert for the Kozy Carrying Case.
The price dropped 25 cents for 1898.
1898 catalogue cover art.