A new kind of Polaroid Camera – from 1961

The Polaroid Land Camera model P66 with a built-in flash was offered from 1961 until 1963. This example has been in our family since 1961 – sixty years next month – when it was a gift from my stepmom’s family to ours for Christmas.

Occasionally, I was given permission to make a photograph using this very camera. Those first photos are long gone, but it introduced me to the joys of making pictures – and the photo that magically appeared just seconds from pressing the shutter.

Old timers will remember the print coater stick soaked with a mystery sweet-smelling chemical that needed to be wiped across the newly developed photograph to preserve it. A cartridge with a dried-out coating stick was still in the leather case, as well as a few unspent flash bulbs, all shown above.

Somehow the camera, which sold for about $90 (almost $700 in today’s dollars) has survived countless moves and garage sales and emerged from a dusty box hidden towards the back of the workshop earlier this week. The image was created as a faux advertisement for a photography class assignment I’m tackling this semester.

P.S., the family photographs shown as “props” of this faux advertisement were made in the late 1950s and early 1960s – but not taken with this camera – they are likely from a Kodak camera. The subjects include my sister, brother, and me.