A Brief History of the Cirkut
The panoramic prints on this web site were produced with the Cirkut camera, a camera
specially designed for large group and scenic photographs. Manufactured between 1904 and
1940, the Cirkut camera was first produced by the Rochester Panoramic Company which merged
with the Century Company. Eastman Kodak bought out the Century Company in 1907. The Cirkut
camera was officially produced by the Folmer and Schwing Division of Eastman Kodak, but it
became known as the Kodak Cirkut camera.
Cirkut cameras were produced in five different sizes from the smallest, the No.5 to the
largest, the No.16. Currently I have two No. 8 Cirkut cameras and one No. 10 Cirkut. These
cameras produce images (black & white or color) 8 or 10 inches wide and up to six feet
How the Camera Operates
The camera rotates by a clock-work motor. It drives an interchangeable gear wheel, which
meshes with a large, circular rack on the outside of the tripod top. The speed of the
clockwork motor is adjustable with a range of exposure times from 1 t2 to 1 t12 second.
The Cirkut camera was supplied with a triple convertible lens which gives a choice of
three different focal lengths.
Shooting the Panorama
Having one's photograph made by a Cirkut camera is a unique event which brings an old
technique to contemporary times. For a group photograph, it is important that people are
formed in a semi-circle. In this configuration they will appear to be in a straight line
in the print. Once the camera is turned on it rotates from one end of the group to the
other. For those who are fleet of foot, it is possible to run from one end of the- group
to the other and thus be in the same photograph twice! Having a panoramic portrait made of
your group is a unique and fun experience and the resulting photograph is a beautiful