Magazine article Humanities

One Off

Magazine article Humanities

One Off

Article excerpt

The NEH-supported California Museum of Photography in Riverside is home to many cameras, including the Expo watch camera of the early twentieth century. Disguised as an ordinary timepiece and designed to slip into a pocket, the Expo watch camera was, however, no toy. Built to take quality pictures and photographic portraits, with or without the knowledge of the person being photographed, it was manufactured and sold in the United States from 1905 to 1939. At a time when photographers labored with unwieldy equipment, the watch camera was informal enough to put people at ease. The mini camera's patented parts included its lilliputian lens, film holder, and shutter. Another novelty was a film cartridge that functioned as a single unit, an innovation not used again in cameras until 1963.

England's Queen Alexandra owned the Expo's predecessor, the Ticka. …

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