ca. 1904

This early Brownie followed the Original (Improved) Brownie of 1900. It is virtually identical to the earlier model, though about 2mm taller and wider. There were no real improvements over the earlier Brownie; it was renamed the No. 1 simply to differentiate it from the newly-released (1901) No. 2 Brownie, which is larger. The price remained $1.

Curiously, the metal fittings are all finished in 'japanned' matte black rather than the usual nickel. This was clearly done at the factory. Other examples are known to exist. No one seems to know why some were made with black hardware, but given that all the black No. 1 Brownies that I'm aware of came from the UK, this was likely done for export -- though the reason remains unclear.

Two versions of the No. 1, with black and nickel fittings.

Like the earlier "Original" Brownies, the No. 1 had no built-in viewfinder, but an accessory viewfinder that clipped to the top could be purchased for 25c.

From 1901 through 1903 the No. 1 was covered with a fine-grain leatherette, like the Original models. This was changed in 1904 to a coarse-grain, as seen here. That detail, and the patent dates printed inside, date this particular example between 1904 and 1908. (The No. 1 was produced up to 1915. Ansel Adams first camera was a Brownie No. 1, given to him by his aunt when he was 14. In 1974 he donated that camera to the George Eastman House Museum.)