Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Castles, Cameras and Brownies

I assure you that nobody would have known that the black and grey muddle on Elfrida's paper was meant to be a picture of a castle. Edred's was much more easily recognised, even before he printed "Arden Castle" under it in large, uneven letters. --- "There!" he said at last, "it's ever so much liker than yours." "Yes," said Elfrida, "but there's more in mine." "It doesn't matter how much there is in a picture if you can't tell what it's meant for," said Edred, with some truth.

From The House of Arden (1908)
by Edith Nesbit (1858-1924)
(Chapter VIII)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Critical of their attempts at drawing the ruins of the castle, the children come up with the idea of taking a Brownie (camera) with them back into the past. I don’t know yet how that turned out, because I haven’t read that far yet. I had to pause right there and go for a little (Wikipedia) excursion of my own. (Children? Camera? 1908?)

The first Brownie, introduced in February, 1900, was a very basic cardboard box camera with a simple lens that took 2¼-inch square pictures on 117 rollfilm. With its simple controls and initial price of $1, it was intended to be a camera that anyone could afford and use, hence the slogan, "You push the button, we do the rest." The camera was named after the popular cartoons created by Palmer Cox.

Palmer Cox (1840 – 1924) was a Canadian illustrator and author, best known for The Brownies, his series of humorous verse books and comic strips about the mischievous but kindhearted fairy-like sprites.

(Click the image to read the book as html-file from www.gutenberg.org)

Okay, I think I’m getting a suspicion where Edith Nesbit may have got some of her inspiration from… (Rhymes, by the way, are also important in The House of Arden.)

Myself I’m getting more and more fascinated with my own time-travelling (by books as well as old family photographs and postcards) into the early 1900’s…


  1. My first camera was a little Brownie Reflex. Now I have a little cannon power shot. We've come a long way baby....

  2. mother had a brownie, but not like this one... when we looked in it to take the pic everyone was upside down....

  3. Love the research that this teaser inspired. =)

    My TT from The Host

  4. Good job you have a camera handy, too, when you do your time-travelling, so that you can show us things from the past!

  5. A box Brownie. A Kodak VPK. And so they went on. Happy memories.

  6. Here's a comment from Scriptor Senex that I unfortunately managed to delete instead of publish (I was trying to do it from my mobile...) Reconstructing it from the email copy:

    Scriptor Senex March 6, 2013 at 6:12 AM:

    Mum had a box brownie and was still using it in the 1960s at which stage the film became unobtainable (or incredibly expensive) as 35mm film took over the world.


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