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Who invented the spy camera?

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From Daguerre to Digital 
by John Wade

This book contains over 500 color photos, displaying a wide range of cameras produced from the earliest days of photography to the rise of the digital age. The informative text provides a history of cameras, organized into chapters by various camera types, including snapshot, folding, rangefinder, single lens reflex, twin lens reflex, stereo, panoramic, miniature, and spy cameras. Cameras within each chapter are arranged chronologically to show the development of the camera type.
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This video examines a series of antique photographs to see what can be learned about their creation dates and the photographers who made them. The narrator also discuesses a few tips for dating old photographs, as well as learning about silver mirroring—a deterioration problem in some gelatin silver prints.
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Kodak Folding Camera 1902

A Salute to the Pioneers
Bob Brooke


Smack dab in the middle of the United States stands Harold Warp’s Pioneer Village, a true salute to America’s pioneers. Jam packed with over 50,000 items spanning over a 100 years of the country’s history from approximately 1850 to 1950 and a bit beyond, it’s a testament to not only one man’s passion for collecting but to his determination to show the progress the country has made over that time.

 Midwesterners most likely purchased a good many of the items on display through the Sears Catalogue, making this museum a visual representation of American life through the items people owned.

Harold Warp was born poor, in a Nebraska sod house. Later, he invented plexiglas and became a millionaire. Over the years, he created what can only be described as a mini Smithsonian, containing everything from antique and vintage telephones to slot machines to classic cars to all sorts of household and farm items.

The museum sprawls through 28 buildings, a dozen of which Warp purchased and brought to the site in Mendlin, Nebraska. The very first building he purchased was the schoolhouse he attended as a child. Along with it, he bought, his hometown’s train depot, church, and nine other structures.

Then he moved them to an artificial town square and opened it as an attraction—Harold Warp's Pioneer Village—in 1953. The Warp Family sod house was long gone, so he had a replica built of real sod and placed it only a few feet away from America's oldest carousel, perhaps fulfilling one of Harold's childhood dreams.

A peek inside a harness maker's workshop reveals walls covered in bridles, halters, harnesses, and reins. Shelves filled with the tiny bits and necessities of the job of the 19th and early 20th-century harnessmaker. A large, antique sewing machine stands ready to stitch.

And on the village green stands The People’s Store, a replica of a store that originally stood in Stamford, Nebraska. It’s interior is filled to the brim with all the items that would have been sold there.

Warp surrounded his village with 16 exhibit halls, filling them with over 50,000 historical objects, everything from President Lincoln's sugar bowl to trolley cars. The Village doesn't try to impress visitors with fancy displays. It is all about the items, themselves, and their place in history, so Warp displayed most of them in chronological order.

He sorted his collection into groups and placed them in buildings, each with a given theme—farm equipment, airplanes, trucks, home appliances, etc. Visitors can easily see the evolution of such things as bathtubs, cash registers, washing machines, pocket watches, even fishing lures. One exhibit hall showcases the progress in the interior design of kitchens and living rooms from 1830 to 1980. Another displays rows and rows of kitchen stoves, from old cast iron wood stoves to more current electric stoves.

Some might find the Pioneer Village to be somewhat cluttered. But that’s part of its charm. It’s not pretentious. Florescent lights shine down on the displays, giving an eerie warehouse feeling. It’s an overwhelming array that can take up to a day or more to see completely.

Items in the collection include antique and vintage automobiles from 87 different manufacturers, the first motorhome, the first tractor, trucks of every description, ice making tools and machinery, even a railroad engine—No. 967—that once ran through town.

Visitors will discover Grover Cleveland's presidential desk, the first consumer cordless phone, and a piece of tinfoil from Thomas Edison's original phonograph. You can see America's first jet fighter, Chicago's last gas street lamp, and a pouch with undelivered letters from a dead Pony Express rider, all scattered through the buildings of this artificial “village.”

One building, the Hobby House, is the only one in which items aren’t displayed chronologically. Collections of Barbie dolls, salt shakers, ashtrays, pencils, buttons, liquor decanters, mechanical banks, fountain pens, spittoons, nightcaps line the shelves and walls.

But mixed in amongst the chaos are Warp;s personal memorabilia—his color TV, his car, he personal airplane, his yacht, and even his son’s hail-dented 1972 Ford Pinto and his wife’s contact lenses.

Not only did Warp purchase and collect all the items on display, he wrote extensive descriptions for each, indicating something about the item’s history.

And if wandering the exhibit halls and historic buildings becomes too much, visitors can stroll onto the village green where they can play a game of checkers on the porch of The People’s Store, a replica of one that stood in Stamford, Nebraska. For those who can’t tear themselves away, there’s always another day.

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