I was very excited to receive this image, as it shows one of the earlier incarnations of an automatic photo machine. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there had been many different attempts to make a reliable automated photo apparatus. However, no one truly succeeded until Anatol Josepho patented his fully automated Photomaton in 1925. By the time this film was made, the above booth was very old fashioned indeed, and quite ready to be consigned to the rubbish tip.
Unlike the type of photobooth pioneered by Josepho, which produce the familiar, paper, photobooth strip, this booth produced a single tintype photo. Thanks to the impeccable research of Nakki Goranin in her book American Photobooth, I was able to find what I think is a tintype from this type of machine, or from a machine very like this one. (See below) The image did not scan or photograph well, so I included both, in the hope that you will get an idea of what this machine might have produced. This tintype photo measures approximately 45 mm (1 3/4″) in diameter and shows a young man wearing what is possibly a bowler hat. It is hard to be sure as the top part of the crown is obscured. This gentleman is well dressed in shirt and tie and very confident in front of the camera.
While this item doesn’t set my pulse racing, the way early paper-strip photos do, I am very happy to have this part of the photobooth story represented in my collection.