The Kodak “ pre-catalogues” or, the pre-Kodak Catalogues. The first catalogue, so called by George Eastman, seems to be the 1885. This is the oldest Eastman catalogue discovered so far. There are references in older ads (as old as at least 1881) to “Send for Circular” but no such documents have turned up so far. The catalogue consists of 30 pages of Eastman material introduced as directions for making paper negatives. Roll holders, enlarging equipment and various sundries were listed as well, but the Kodak Camera was still in the future. The last two/thirds of the 80-page catalogue was “Scovill Amateur Specialties.” Prior ads talk about ordering “ circulars” and price lists. In 1887 a 32 page “ pamphlet ” telling how to use Permanent Bromide Paper was advertised. This was Eastman’s enlarging paper. But the 1886 ad for the Negative Paper Roll Holder offered free “ Catalogs “ describing “ Complete outfits for Working Negative Paper”. And it is not surprising, then, that the oldest Eastman Catalog we have been able to find is the 1886.

To learn about the details of Eastman’s products before this date, it is necessary to find the ads. Eastman did begin advertising, at least as early as 1881, in the major American photographic journals, selling his Gelatine Dry Plates. A few years later, he was pushing the new “System of Film Photography, aimed at replacing the dry plates.  I have included here a page or a few from some of those journals to fill in the early years before the Kodak Camera was introduced and the Kodak Catalogs were published. Each year starts with the journal’s title page. 1881, 1882 and 1883 are from the Photographic Times and American Photographer, published by Scovill and edited by J. Traill Taylor. Wilson’s “ Photo Mosaics of 1884 announces the soon to be available film. 1886, which includes the only pictures I’ve seen of the Eastman Daylight Enlarging Camera and the Eastman Enlarging Easel, was published by Anthony in the Anthony’s Photograph Bulletin, edited by Dr. Charles Chandler, Professor of Chemistry at Columbia in New York. 1887 and 1888 are published by Scovill again, in the American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac. The 1887 ad includes the only detailed description of the Eastman Detective Camera. This mysterious item was only a coming attraction in the 1886 and 1887 catalogs, and was a forgotten failure, not mentioned in the first Kodak Catalog of 1888 and afterwards. So this paragraph in the 1887 ad is the only place you can read about the famous “ Alligator Shutter”. These advertisment images were obtained through the Google Library Project and are not intended to be sold and are presented for information only. Please search the Google Library Project to use documents for your own personal use.

1881





1882






1883





1884





1885



1886



March 1886










April 1886



June 1886





1887











1888