Hawkeye Camera with Flash and bulbs

The Hawkeye was produced from 1949 to 1961 by The Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, NY. It eventually replaced the Brownie box camera but used the same 620 film format. The bakelite camera was iconic with its large bell flash unit. This flash popularized indoor shooting with the safety of the P25 blue-dot daylight-type flashbulb.

Man holding a Kodak Hawkeye with Flash

Before flash bulb technology was widely available in the late 1940s, flash powder was used. The camera operator would hold an open metal bowl with a mixture of magnesium powder and potassium chlorate. It was lit by hand and produced light similar to daylight. And was very dangerous.

This is the way photos were taken in doors in low light before the contain flash bulb was available.

Many people remember this camera held by an enthusiastic uncle, blinding everyone during the holidays. If you look at pictures from that time, the subjects all have the look of surprise in their eyes.

Kodak Hawkeye Camera Advertisement, featuring Easter morning
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Cameras came in colorful boxes featuring beautiful artwork