Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Button Wednesday : Camera Button

It is Wednesday again, so it's BUTTON DAY on my blog !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes buttons live double lives....... for example the camera button. The first miniature cameras camouflaged as buttons appeared already in the 1880s. They were primarily used by artists and military men in Germany. They were suspended from the neck behind a vest, with the lens projected through the buttonhole, looking like ordinary buttons. The photographer had to stand close to the object he wanted to photograph and pull the shutter cord behind his vest; the resulting pictures were as large as the buttons themselves (from the book "All because of a button" by Ellaraine Lockie, 2000). Unfortunately, I could not find any pictures of these buttons :)

But I could find some pictures of the button cameras used by intelligence agencies during the cold war in the 1950's and 1960's. They were so bulky that they could only be used with a heavy coat. The actual button was a plate that screwed onto the camera lens. The button camera plate had a cord that ran into the agent's pocket. Using this method, when an agent wanted to take a still photo, he simply placed his hand in the pocket and pushed the lever. The center part of the button would quikly slide away to expose the camera lens and the shutter would open. The coat used had to have the button camera installed on it with matching buttons as well as a hole torn inside the coat pocket so the camera lever could be installed.

Button camera in Stasi museum
(pictures from The History And Evolution Of Spy And Investigative Photography By Ralph Thomas, The International Spy Museum, and picosonic on flickr, respectively)

Must have been difficult to hide the bulky lump :)
Quite something else than the modern button cameras that are on the market these days.

(pictures from Sean Hollister on engadget and Solon Security)

Have you seen a lovely, beautiful, stunning, crazy button or button-related thingy, or did you make something with a button / buttons, or did you even make buttons yourself, blog about it on your blog on Wednesday, and give the link here in the comments so that everybody can enjoy it !!


BHB Kidstyle said...

Haha! Great button finds!

Kristin Evihan said...

woww...such an interesting Button:-D I would call SPY BUTTON:-D

Katerina said...

Waw, what an interesting post again.

tenderblue said...

Fantastic post!

OnePerfectDay said...

This is AWESOME!!!