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DeMoulin Trick Camera: Photography Pranks are Priceless

In Cameras > Wood Cameras > Show & Tell.
Cameras1253 of 1294What is this camera I have by the Goodwin Film & Camera Co.? I am so confused
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Posted 8 years ago

(290 items)

"Now then, look perfectly natural, and remain very quiet for just a moment" the photographer says in a deliberate voice after posing his subject and preparing the tripod mounted polished wood camera with brass lens. In a nonchalant motion, the bulb is squeezed and both photographer and subject await the final result.

It's a scene that has replayed itself since the invention of photography. But if the subject is posing in front of a c1910 - 1930 DeMoulin camera, the outcome is always surprising. Instead of the soft sound of a shutter opening, a strong stream of water suddenly erupts from the lens showering the formerly smiling and now startled subject.

The rare 8” x 8” Trick Camera looks like the real thing. In preparing of a shoot, the faux pneumatic shutter release is filled with water and attached to a tube in back of the camera. The photographer then goes through the usual ritual by pretending to focus while looking through a peep hole in the lens.

The Trick Camera was one of many novelty items, costumes, gag devices, and furniture sold to Lodge and Fraternal orders by DeMoulin Bros. & Co. of Greenville, Illinois. (Note: The company is still in business and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1992.)

And yes, the camera really works! One day, I decided to show off a newly acquired "vintage wood camera" to one of my sons. Yet somehow I failed to mention the true nature of the camera as he eagerly posed for a demonstration.

Mounted on top of a vintage tripod, the camera looks very convincing even when closely examined. Indeed, a strong stream of water shot out from the lens and drenched my son! I won't describe the retaliatory chase around the house and having to explain a wet son and wall to my wife.


  1. Hardbrake Hardbrake, 6 years ago
    All I can say is Oh Boy "I LOVE IT" What a nice find. Hardbrake
  2. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks, Hardbrake!
  3. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks mrmajestic1 and Vwcollector!
  4. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks, officialfuel!
  5. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
    Thanks, Scott!
  6. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
    Thanks, farmlady!
  7. rniederman rniederman, 4 years ago
    Thanks, tom61375!
  8. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
    Thanks, michaeln544!
  9. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
  10. rniederman rniederman, 2 years ago
    Thanks, pops52!
  11. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
    Thanks, Elisabethan!
  12. rniederman rniederman, 4 months ago
    Thanks, oldpeep!

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