In 1882, William Hall Walker manufactured and sold a small wooden camera for the amateur market called Walker’s Pocket Camera. It’s a historically important camera because it was built with interchangeable parts and was one of the first amateur camera outfits sold at a very low price.
Lowering the cost of camera manufacturing was a key step in which George Eastman would soon exploit and take full advantage of. Eastman’s primary goal was to offer, simple, inexpensive cameras to the masses in order to sell them highly profitable roll film. To that end, Walker joined Eastman in 1884 and would go on to have a long, albeit tumultuous, career with Eastman.
In fact, Walker became fabulously wealthy as one of Kodak’s largest shareholders when he passed away in 1917.
During certain investigations into the history of the gas engine, he was struck with what appeared to be contradictory practices and designs, and so attempted to procure financial assistance to prosecute some independent experiments, having in mind the obtaining of correct engine cylinder diagrams. Failing to obtain this necessary financial support, he then directed his attention to a complete study of the photographic processes from the earliest known down to the then new “dry plate” process. At that time this new process was little understood and was giving no little trouble to the manufacturers.
For a year his attention was directed wholly to these photographic studies, which were supplemented by experiments with practically all the then known processes and apparatus. The result of these investigations was the development on a commercial scale of a small camera for amateurs known as Walker’s Pocket Camera. This camera attained a marked success and was purchased particularly by engineers for facilitating preliminary surveys of projected railways and other works. It was the first camera specially adapted to the needs and capabilities of amateurs.