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History of Kodak: History of Inventions

Kodak, one of the largest manufacturers of digital cameras and a leader in the development of photosensitive sensors, has traveled a path of 126 years. To its founder George Eastman, we owe a great deal to the transformation of photography from a very expensive and time-consuming activity for the elite into a mass and public phenomenon. And most of the modern giants of the photo industry once took and still adopt technologies developed by Kodak engineers.

History of Kodak: History of Inventions
George Eastman, who served in 1878 as a junior clerk of the Rochester Savings Bank, “fell ill” with a photograph, when a friend advised him to bring a camera with him before his next vacation. Eastman bought one of the most modern cameras at that time and all the necessary accessories, but he quickly became discouraged by the equipment that appeared in the house. The camera was the size of a modern microwave, it could only be held by a heavy wooden tripod, there was also a tent for putting emulsions on the plates, their development and drying, a mass of various cones with chemicals, and a jug of water closed the list. “Only a horse can take all this equipment to a place!” Exclaimed Eastman in his hearts and stayed at home. He spent his vacation thinking about how to simplify the process of photographing and make it publicly available.

It was decided to start with photosensitive material. In English photo magazines, Eastman read that the photographers themselves are preparing a gelatin emulsion. After long experiments, he finally managed to develop a recipe for a new, more convenient dry photo emulsion, which could be applied to the plates in advance. Realizing the promise of the invention, he opened the production of finished dry photographic plates, which began to be popular. But this seemed to Eastman not enough, he wanted to find a lighter and more flexible base for the emulsion than glass. He tried to apply photosensitive material to the paper, twisted it and placed it in a round cassette, which could be inserted into any camera in the same way as a cassette for glass photographic plates.

But when finally the first flexible film went on sale, it did not become wildly popular. Eastman realized: in order to make a photo really massive, the consumer needs to offer an easy-to-use camera. He designed and patented such an apparatus in 1886. It was a camera-box with a roller cassette, designed for 48 negatives of the 4 x 5-inch format, with focusing optics and a loud and not very good “alligator shutter”. To top it off, the shutter was also the most expensive part of the camera, so Eastman, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, replaced it with a simpler and cheaper option.

After several more improvements, in 1888, George Eastman launched the No. 1 Kodak Revolutionary Amateur Camera. The camera was still a small box (for which it later became known as the “detective camera”) with a lens that transmitted a circular image with a diameter of 2.25 inches on film. But most importantly, anyone who could, as was written in the instructions, could work with the device: 1) Point the camera, 2) Press the button, 3) Turn the key, 4) Pull the cord. A camera with a charged film roller, designed for 100 frames, cost $ 25 – much cheaper than all the cameras produced at that time. After the film was taken, the buyer sent the device by mail along with the video to Eastman Company in Rochester, New York, where the film was removed, developed, printed, and the device recharged, for which the client paid $ 10. Many could afford a new inexpensive camera, and due to the ease of handling it and the ability to receive ready-made photographs by mail, almost every buyer turned into a passionate amateur photographer. Demand for film and Kodak cameras skyrocketed, and for the next 10 years, the company was desperate to keep up with it.

Red on yellow
Together with Eastman’s first mass camera, the name Kodak first appeared, which for many years has become synonymous with the word “camera”. There were many legends about its origin, but here is what Eastman himself said about this: “I just came up with this word. “K” is my favorite letter of the alphabet; it seems strong and memorable. I had to try many combinations of letters before I got a word beginning and ending with “K”. And the word Kodak is the result of my efforts. ”

The first Eastman Kodak Company logo appeared in the 1900s – the letters “E”, “K” and “C” inscribed in a circle. In 1935, the focus shifted to the word Kodak, printed in red and enclosed in a yellow rectangle. In 1960, the rectangle turned into a triangle. And in 1971, a well-known square yellow-red logo was developed, which existed with minor changes until 2006, when as a result of rebranding, the logo became more concise: the red Kodak inscription was typed in “rounded” font with the original letter “a” .

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