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Posted Monday, February 2, 2004

When Kodak used a well known symbol to embellish its products . . .


Brownie cameraA READER owns a Kodak 2 Brownie, a 1933/34 model with an original 1922 instruction manual. The manual is prominently adorned with a swastika on page 2, facing the correct way. It was manufactured and printed by Canadian Kodak, of Toronto, Ontario. The swastika was by that time already well known since 1918, having acquired a certain notoriety especially in Britain, its colonies and the US.

The reader asked Canadian Kodak for an explanation. He received a reply signed by a Joel P. He writes:

"The swastika symbol did not originate as a nazi symbol of hatred it is actually derived from the sanskrit word svastika which means being fortunate."

"If you would like to have more information please go to the following website [URL not provided]."

swastikaThe reader inquries: "Can you come up with a plausible answer on why Canadian Kodak would still use the swastika on its 1933/34 instruction manuals ? Was Canadian Kodak co-opted by the Nazis or was it a marketing decision by the Canadian Branch of Eastman Kodak?"

On the first and second page bottom right is a date: February 1922; the Kodak 2 Brownie is a 1933/34 model. The manual was probably printed in 1922 and distributed with this model until 1934.

The Kodak Brownie camera | Manual | Title page
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