In the early fifties, Polaroid owners received (or could subscribe to?) a little instructional magazine called Minute Man. (Click any scan to enlarge.)

Vol. 3, No. 6.


Vol. 3, No. 5.

The name reminds me of two things: (a) Polaroid’s New England roots, which occasionally made themselves noticed in things like publicity photos of dockside or snowy scenes, and (b) a blithe disregard, back then, for female buyers. The earliest Polaroid consumers were almost all men, both because of the gadgety quality of the system and because the early cameras were just so damn big and heavy. Marketing to women, and lower price points for female-centric retail settings like supermarkets, came later.

Vol. 3, No. 4.

Only the last of these four consecutive issues—the one with the red cover—has a full date printed on it: November-December 1953. The green one discusses the new Model 110 Pathfinder camera, which first appeared in ’52.

Vol. 3, No. 3.

Inside, it’s mostly basic amateur-photo tips. One issue has a few pages on how to make better photos of your pet. Another tells the story of “Pert and vivacious Dorothy Whittington,” who had just got back from Europe and took some nifty pictures with her new Polaroid camera while she was there.

There’s also an intriguing little box about a joint project between Sylvania and Polaroid in which 1,000 flashbulbs were set off at once to illuminate the entire facade of Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry for a photo shoot. Thousands of photographers were cued to open their shutters, all the bulbs fired, and at least one of them, a fellow named Roy Carson, had his picture 60 seconds later. It’s kind of a crude (though not uncomplicated) approximation of today’s HDR digital photography. Results below.

Not bad, Roy!





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