I found this magnificent camera at my local Goodwill thrift shop. If you follow the history of the Polaroid line at all, you will know that Polaroid roll film was discontinued in 1992. A few months ago, I wrote to the folks at The Impossible Project, to hopefully discover if any of the machinery was saved when they took over the factory in the Netherlands. Unfortunately not, as Polaroid had scrapped them years before TIP scooped it up. So, essentially, this is a beautiful desk conversation piece.
The physical design of the camera itself was executed, as were many Polaroid cameras, through Henry Dreyfuss, the legendary industrial designer. http://www.nndb.com/people/793/000097502/ Another “genius”, in the author’s opinion, certainly Dr. Land surrounded himself with the best of the best. Dreyfuss designed, amongst other things, that round Honeywell thermostat that we all take for granted today, as well as the classic John Deere tractor. His office was cutting edge throughout the 50’s and 60’s.
The earlier version of this camera, is famous for having been used by Mary Moorman, a woman standing about 20 feet from President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, and taking one of the most important photographic pieces in film history, right behind The Zapruder Film in its importance. Her photograph, which was taken just after frame 313 on that film, shows what many think could be a man dressed in a uniform, shooting a rifle, on The Grassy Knoll. Contrary to popular urban legend, Polaroid film stock is sharp, sharp material. This blog is not a JFK Assassination forum, but after having seen The Men Who Killed Kennedy on A&E, well, anything is possible.
My next door neighbor, after I showed off this magnificent camera to him, said he would have bought the camera alone for the picture of the beautiful, curvy brunette on the inside cover of the owner’s manual. She is gorgeous, frozen in time from the Mad Men era.
There are some who convert these Highlander cameras to accept 120 medium format roll film. Then, of course, the “instant” of the camera is no longer instant. Still, may be a future project. The 110a/b’s are converted into beautiful pack cameras or 4×5 instants, by innovative folks such as Nate/Option 8 at www.instantoptions.com . They look amazing.
The 80B was made from 1959-1961. I am guessing this piece is from ’60 or ’61, as the box is of the modern Paul Giambarba graphic design. Now there is yet another Polaroid genius, for another blog entry. The possibilities here are endless!