Design Icon: Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Camera


Design: Brownie Hawkeye Camera

Designer: Arthur H. Crapsey

Date: 1949

Country of Origin: United States

Manufacturer: Eastman Kodak Company

Materials: Molded bakelite body

Background: Introduced in 1900, the Kodak company’s Brownie camera revolutionized the art of photography by making it easy, affordable and widely available to everyday people. While nineteenth century cameras were oftentimes bulky and unwieldy, the Brownie provided a straightforward and lightweight approach to picture taking —one that was so simple, it is widely considered responsible for giving birth to the notion of the “snapshot.” Originally a simple cardboard box with a lens sold for $1, the Brownie enjoyed a long life and numerous iterations. The Hawkeye, introduced in 1949, was one of Kodak’s most popular and enduring Brownie models. With a compact body and a beautiful, streamlined design, it was both elegant and accessible—the perfect encapsulation of what a Brownie could be.

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg.

  1. emily says:

    I have one of these cameras and it is wonderful!


  2. Door says:

    Always great Design Icon stories. Thanks a lot!

  3. Kathy W says:

    This immediately made me think of my Great Aunt Marion. She loved to take pictures with her Brownie – but she was terrible at it. Almost every picture had somebody falling off the side or without a head. But she kept on trying. Thanks for the memory!


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