•3A AUTOGRAPHIC KODAK Special Camera
(w/coupled rangefinder) 1914 ~ 1934 $109.50
•122 roll film 1896 ~ 1971 3¼" × 5½" 25c ~ $1.25
The 3A Autographic Kodak is actually a very slightly modified form of the No. 3A Folding Pocket Kodak (primarily the Model C), a common advanced amateur to professional and military folding bellows camera, made by Eastman Kodak in many subtle variations from 1896 to 1934, for 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch "post card size" exposures on #122 roll film made by Kodak from 1896 - 1971. Some of the 3A cameras had the first Tessar lenses on them and many had pre-Ektar glass. In 1914 the 3A SPECIAL sported the very 1st rangefinder available on any camera. It sold for $109 in 1914, that's $2300 today.
Black cowhide was used for the bellows in most cases. Red bellows was an option from 1898 to about 1913. The red bellows were Seal-Hide and is why they are more durable. Black bellows only, after 1913.
The Autographic feature was an option in 1914 and 1915, and all of them were Autographic after 1915. The autographic feature on the camera was a small door or flap on the back. A small metal stylus was provided. The feature had less to do with the camera than with the optional Autographic film that could be used, designated #A122 instead of #122. The Autographic film was backed by an unusual carbon paper that would become very slightly translucent when a sharp object was pressed against it. In practice, Autographic film was used in the camera just like any other normal roll of film, but with one added advantage. If the photographer wished to make a special note about a specific picture, the back flap was opened, the stylus was used to scribe a note within the tiny space available. The space was exposed to light for a moment, then the flap was closed so the photographer could go on to the next shot. When the pictures were developed, the note was visible along the top margin of that specific negative. The autographic feature was actually the very first data back on a camera, and the idea was conceived decades before other such systems became available. George Eastman was so convinced of the value of this feature that he paid the inventor $300,000 in 1913 to own it outright. Only Kodak cameras were made with the feature, and it remained available on the majority of their cameras until 1934.