As I was leaving the store I passed one of the locked cases and glanced inside. And saw antique cameras. There were a couple of not quite antique SLRs, but hidden within were a Kodak Brownie Reflex and, what I have since learned, a Kodak Baby Brownie (I'm kicking myself for leaving that one behind).
I was in a weakened state. I had $5 in my pocket. I'm a sucker for black bakelite with chrome accents.
This is officially my oldest camera, beating the Duaflex II by nearly a decade. It's older than both my mom and dad. And I think it hadn't been cleaned since it came out of the box back in the early 1940s.
Despite my infirmity, I got out my camera cleaning kit.
It's not a very fancy kit, but it's remarkably effective. Not shown is the lens cleaner and cloth that I pilfered from my desk, which is the best for cleaning the optics (cause if it's good enough for my $600 glasses, it's good enough for a $5 camera).
I started dismantling the camera, paying careful attention to how things came apart so that later I could forget it all and have to puzzle out how to put it back together. I'm so glad I took photos or I'd have a box of camera parts rather than a camera.
The viewing lens was FILTHY.
I fixed that, though it took 3 goes with the cleaners to cut through all the grime.
I couldn't get at the front lens from the inside, like I did in the Duaflex II, so I had to content myself with cleaning it from the outside. It, too, was a travesty of gunk.
So then, using these very photos as a guide, I managed to piece my camera back together, without getting smeary fingerprints all over the lovely clean optics.
I can buy 127mm film, and even get it developed. I just need to find an extra $40 lying around. Maybe it'll be a New Year treat.