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Currently on public display
+ Display Store, Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill
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Photographic booths, 1930 - 1940
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Object statement
Photographic booths (2) and parts, Mutoscope photomatic photo booths, metal / glass / fabric / ceramic / rubber, International Mutoscope Reel Co Inc, New York City, USA, 1930 - 1940
These photo booths allowed people to obtain instant images of themselves at a time when cameras and the development of film was relatively expensive. Booths like these were often found at public transport terminals.

Before the advent of digital photography, photos were taken by exposing light-sensitive film, then developing that film to produce photographs. People left exposed films at specialist stores or chemists who were agents for photo developers. It usually took at least two days for the finished photographs to be returned.

The booths were manufactured by the International Mutoscope Reel Co Inc, based in New York City. Mutoscope's key business was the design and manufacture of arcade machines, and the company name and early product (the mutoscope) became synonymous with the activity. While their date of manufacture is uncertain, their Deco styling and the photographic technology used places their design around the early to mid 1930s.
Designed by the International Mutoscope Reel Co, Inc, New York City.

Manufactured by the International Mutoscope Reel Co, Inc, New York City.
Sue Frazer, descendant of the donors Eileen and Keith McPhee, recalls that the photo booths were stored in their garage since at least 1950. The booths may have been in storage longer as there is newspaper packing dating from 1939. Their exact history of use is unclear.

There are two schools of thought regarding this. One school of thought (as related by the executor of the donors' estate and niece to the same) suggests that these photo booths were imported and never used, remaining in the garage at 14 Leonard Avenue in storage since their arrival from their place of manufacture (newspaper packing material found on site dating from 1939). The second school of thought suggests that both the booths were once installed at either Circular Quay or central station (so far we have found no primary evidence to support this, however images and recollections may exist in support of this).

Among the material acquired with the photo booths there is a "Photomatic" docket book which contains hand written receipts for photographs taken and details regarding the colouring, tinting or enlargement of photographs, a service offered in addition to the original black and white photographs provided by the machine. These suggest that the photo booths were used around 1935 or 1938 in Queensland.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Photographic booths (2) and parts, Mutoscope photomatic photo booths, metal / glass / fabric / ceramic / rubber, International Mutoscope Reel Co Inc, New York City, USA, 1930 - 1940

These two large sheet metal photographic booths with steel bases house electro mechanical apparatus that captured, developed and framed photographic prints.

Made: International Mutoscope Reel Company; New York, USA; 1930 - 1940
2002/103/1
Production date
1930 - 1940

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Gift of the estate of Keith & Eileen McPhee, 2002
Subjects
+ Photography
+ Arcade games
Currently on public display
+ Display Store, Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/11009
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/11009 |title=Photographic booths |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=2 September 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


Copyright
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