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Thread: Photomate 300 - 1960's mini photo lab kit (childrens toy)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Photomate 300 - 1960's mini photo lab kit (childrens toy)

    Does anyone own any of these ( remember using them)?

    Claims to be " enlarger-project-editor-superimposer"

    Is this a quality project and worth getting for decent and quick photo results and effects? Even though its a vintage toy?

  2. #2
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Everett, WA

    Re: Photomate 300 - 1960's mini photo lab kit (childrens toy)

    There was a Polaroid product which you could use to project either a 35mm or MF E6 onto pack film and then "process" it. By what I saw on the box of one of these, I suppose that it either used Polaroid materials or something similar. It claimed "no chemicals."

    You'd be better off with a used or cheap scanner.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Montgomery, Il. USA

    Re: Photomate 300 - 1960's mini photo lab kit (childrens toy)

    I remember seeing things like that at 5 +10's way back. No idea if they worked well or even if at all.
    I think they were like a $5 toy.
    Some or today's shops may still carry developing kits for film and paper. Used enlargers are cheap in today's market. Something like a Durst F300 or Bogen would do OK for 35mm.

  4. #4

    Re: Photomate 300 - 1960's mini photo lab kit (childrens toy)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Koehrer View Post
    I remember seeing things like that at 5 +10's way back. No idea if they worked well or even if at all. I think they were like a $5 toy.
    I recall a pinhole camera that was sold in five and dime stores .
    In/around 1960 we visited family in Uniondale, Long Island, NY. I was very young, maybe four or five.
    While visiting, either I got bored or antsy, most likely probably both and even more likely was starting to become pesky, I would be handed a fiver (some change would be expected) and instructed to "get outta here" for a while.
    I would take the short walk to the corner 5 & 10 for candy, a toy or some-such. One time I bought one of those cheap "instant" cameras. I think it was a Kodak camera, but don't remember at all excepting it was box with a small number of instant prints. It couldn't have been anymore than a couple of bucks, which was a lot of money to have in hand as a kid. This was a novelty idea for a camera, and IIRC was constructed of cardboard and definitely employed some type of chemical-less paper for both the film and the print. The print was the film and/or the film was the print. Now I'm confused. :^) When I brought the camera back to the house it was of interest to everyone. I do remember "taking" some photos and surprisingly it worked! Some sort of images were made. What those images were are memories long forgotten.

    That's my circa 1960 childhood box/pinhole camera story.

    How I found myself here in this thread was that I was searching for the exact type of camera for some writing I was doing and stumbled on in.

    As an aside, I own a Kodak Model 3-D 8"x10" view camera with a wheeled aperture pinhole "lens" and a small 80mm (I think, it's been a while) portrait lens. I only have a 5"x7" back for it which is perfect for what I had intended on using it for. Which is 5"x7" contact prints on 11"x14" and maybe 8"x10" paper. I think 11x14 paper with a big white border looks best though. I keep forgetting I have this beauty and always wanted to get back to shooting portraits and maybe land/cityscapes with it. I haven't had much time to shoot or focus on photography at all in 2012 or this year either. The passion is still there, just not the time and workflow for making proper quality images.


    Since this is my first post, I really should introduce myself.
    My name is Robert. I am a native New Yorker living in Seattle, WA. I am on the right hand side of the bell curve of life (gasp!), relatively healthy and am still rather crisp when I'm paying attention.
    I've been in Information Technology in many differing roles for 20+ years and my career path is now Information Security.
    I am a recent college graduate with an Information Security / Digital Forensics ATA degree and a couple of handfuls of related certificates. My interests are/have been varied and include, geodesic dome structures and space frames, sustainable gardening, bee keeping (I am hive-less at the moment), technology (systems/networking/InfoSec), winter mountaineering/snow-showing/skiing, motorcycling and of course photography, to name a few of my favorite activities over the years. This might be in the wrong place for an introduction, but I'll get back to exploring around and maybe do a proper intro in the right place.

    You can find some of my personal work at

    - Robert

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