"Bantam Special" camera


Walter Dorwin Teague ( American, 1883 - 1960 )


Eastman Kodak Company ( American, 1892 )


Joseph Mihalyi ( Hungarian )


Chester W. Crumrine

designed c. 1936; in production 1936–1948
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General Description

Giving objects, even stationary ones, streamlined shapes was seen as a sign of progress and dynamism in the Depression years of the 1930s. Thanks to the emerging profession of industrial design and the need to enhance slumping sales figures, streamlined silhouettes were given to everything from buildings to buses and from cocktail shakers to vacuum cleaners. Furthermore, the modernity of these products was often enhanced through the use of new materials, including plywood, plastic, chromed steel, and aluminum. The end result was fashionable yet relatively inexpensive products that could be consumed on a mass scale and were not restricted to the wealthy upper class.

Walter Dorwin Teague, who designed this camera, was one of the United States most important industrial designers. Although he was already well established by the 1920s, Teague underwent a design catharsis in 1926. That year he went to Europe where he studied Le Corbusier's work and, from that time on, devoted himself exclusively to the new field of industrial design. Teague's design for this camera echoes the influence that the Machine Age aesthetic had on consumer goods during the thirties by incorporating repeated horizontal chrome banding to the casing of the camera and set against a black background.

Adapted from

  • DMA unpublished material.
  • Charles Venable, DMA unpublished material, 2001.

Web Resources

PBS American Experience
Read more about Industrial Designers and Streamliners

Walter Dorwin Teague
Read more about American industrial designer, Walter Dorwin Teague