The history of Kodak all started when in the 1870s, 24-year old George Eastman was planning a vacation from his job in Rochester, New York as a bank clerk. A co-worker suggested that he make photos of his vacation and he found out that to do some photography, one has to carry a bulky load of camera, wet-plate developing chemicals, and other stuff. This prompted him to cancel his vacation and explored on how to improve the art and science of photography.
It was only after three years that he developed a dry glass plate to his satisfaction. He got a U.S. patent for several contraptions he developed and started manufacturing these in 1880. A year later, joined by a businessman, he went full time with the photography business and left his job at the bank.
Here are the Important Developments in the History of Photography and the Evolution of the Modern Camera
1880 – George Eastman, founder of Kodak sold dry plates
1884 – Eastman Dry Plate and Film company was formed. Henry A. Strong, a businessman who joined Eastman two years earlier was President and Eastman as General Manager and Treasurer.
1888 – “Kodak” was born as a trademark. The first portable camera was introduced, and signaled the birth of snapshot photography. Kodak then was known with its highly advertised slogan, “You push the button, we do the rest.”
1892 – The company name was changed to Eastman Kodak Company of New York. By this time, Kodak products have reached distribution outside United States, particularly in France, Germany, and Italy with its headquarters in London and a manufacturing plant outside London.
1898 – With its vision of bringing photography to more people at the lowest possible price, Kodak developed the Folding Pocket Kodak Camera. This is the father of modern roll-film cameras. The Brownie camera was introduced at $1 each and films at 15 cents per roll.
1923 – Kodak introduced Kodacolor motion picture films, cameras and projectors and sold them at affordable prices. The company provided the U.S. government with aerial cameras and trained U.S. Signal Corps cameramen during World War 1.
1932 – George Eastman, 77, committed suicide. He left a note that says, “To my friends. My work is done. Why wait? G.E.” Over the following decade, new products that improve photography were introduced by Kodak especially in terms of helping promote amateur photography.
1963 – Kodak introduced the Instamatic camera. It revolutionized amateur photography and became such a big hit as these are affordable and easy to use.
1970s – Kodak was involved in several antitrust suits filed against the company by smaller photography companies. It also got into head-on collision with another company that manufactures and sells instant photography that develops pictures outside the camera in minutes-Polaroid. This long-drawn battle between two giants in the photography business finally ended with Kodak paying a settlement of $925 million to Polaroid.
Over the years, Eastman Kodak further contributed to the development of photography. It also branched out to other industries such as chemical manufacturing, supplying necessary supplies to the U.S. Defense hardware manufacturing requirements and in the field of medicine.
Up to this point in history where digital imaging systems dominate the world of photography, Kodak, remains a force and brand to reckon with.
This Article is written by John C Arkin.
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