Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1

13 comments on Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1
2 minutes
Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1

I recently bought this Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1 so I can display some of my old folding cameras.

The more old cameras I buy, the more challenging it becomes to store and display them in my little house. Cameras line the mantle of my fireplace, fill a bookcase in my office, and occupy every unclaimed knick-knack-sized spot in my living room. The cameras I don’t have room to display I keep in the bathroom closet, of all places. And at the moment, six cameras I bought recently but haven’t used yet sit on my desk.

Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1

Collapsed, the Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1 measures 15½ inches long. Each leg contains three successively narrower sections and you can extend as many of them as you like. Fully extended, the legs are 48½ inches long. Of course, you have to spread the legs enough for the tripod to stand, so effective height is shorter by a few inches. I screwed my Kodak Junior Six-16 Series II to the tripod for this shot.

Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1

The tripod’s head is stamped with the dates of three patents, so I fired up Google Patent Search. It found two of the patents, one that appears to cover the head mechanism and one that describes the mechanism for extending, locking, and releasing the legs. Check out this page from the latter patent.

Here are some of the same details from my Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1.

Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1
Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1
Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1

Opening this tripod is simple – you unhook the leather strap that binds the legs together, and then just pull out the legs until the locking tabs snap into place. You can extend as many or as few of the four leg segments as you want. The legs are made of brass, with the first leg section painted black and the remaining sections plated in nickel. To close the tripod, on each leg you press in the top locking tab and push from the leg’s foot. The other locking tabs give way and the legs collapse in a jiffy. A metal guide is attached to one leg, and you lay other two legs’ feet into the guide’s slots. Then you wrap the leather strap around the legs and hook it closed.

Kodak sold this tripod for at least 26 years. Thanks to Google Books I easily found advertisements for this tripod (and its brothers, the No. 0 and the No. 2) from as early as 1911 (left, below) and as late as 1937 (right). Given that my Junior Six-16 Series II was made sometime from 1934 to 1936, it is contemporary to this tripod and makes a perfect display pair. My Kodak Six-20, which dates to 1932-1937, would also be a good match for this tripod.

I was fortunate that my tripod came with its original box.

Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1

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13 responses to “Kodak Metal Tripod No. 1”

  1. Irene Avatar

    I love stuff like that! And what a great way to display your cameras! Now you have something new to scour garagesales for!



    Here’s two listings from Bonanza that I found. Not sure the latter is really that vintage.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Irene, the mini tripod (second link) looks really neat, and $6 is a nice price. I wish I had more time for garage sales! That’s how I built my first camera collection, starting when I was a teenager and had lots of time on my hands. The other thing I wish I had more time for was scouring Goodwill, the Salvation Army store, and other thrift stores.

      1. ryoko861 Avatar

        If you can get the time, check out some auctions!

  2. Mike Avatar

    Great find. I don’t recall seeing such a nice Kodak tripod before, and yours appears to be in perfect condition. I think a lot of people interested in old cameras miss out on the quality they can deliver when a tripod is not used regularly. Even the simplest old box cameras can produce great images if you can manage to hold them steady.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Mike, I do feel lucky to have found this tripod in such nice shape. I saw a few others as I searched, but this one was by far in the nicest shape. It is a little scuffed here and there, and one of the two grommets on the leather strap is missing, but for being at least 75 years old I think that’s fine!

      Another thing a tripod can do is hold the camera level. When I shot with my Kodak Six-20 most of my shots came out a little cockeyed. The viewfinder’s image is so tiny it’s hard to be sure you’ve leveled the shot. Thank goodness for software that can correct that. But when I get around to shooting with my Monitor, I’ll definitely support it with a tripod.

  3. Ryan Avatar

    How much did you snag this for? I have one I believe my Great-Grandfather owned.

    1. Jim Avatar

      You know, I forget exactly. I even bought another one six months ago and forget what I paid for it, too. But I’m a bit of a skinflint, so I’d be very, very surprised if I paid more than $30 foe each of them.

  4. Joe Avatar

    I know this is a very old blog that I stumbled across while looking for info on my vintage tripod. My tripod looks almost exactly like yours except mine has an adjustable swivel camera mount. What’s missing is any mfg. information. It’s possible that there was some sort of glued on sticker on the surface where the camera mounts but it’s long gone. Where is the mfg info located on your tripod?


    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I own two of these now and both have it on the head. It’s different on each one though:



      Given the patent dates on these I’d say the first one is the older one.

  5. Joe Avatar


    Thanks for the quick reply. I see now that the mfg. plate is missing on my tripod. All that’s there is the glue residue from the missing plate. I’m certain that mine is also a Kodak tripod as it looks exactly as the one you pictured.


    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      They’re patented, so if it’s that design it’s certainly the Kodak!

  6. Gsaston Avatar

    Hello, I just got one for 5 bucks and it works quite well on the field, the spikes digging in to give it stability.
    The problem is that these same spikes make it impossible to use on homes with the legs sliding out and the camera sinking tog round level.
    I see no way to prevent that from happening since there is no way to make the legs tighter at the head.
    Has anyone found a solution?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve only used mine a couple times inside but my house is fully carpeted. The legs don’t slide on the carpet. Maybe you can put a rug under yours.

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