Friday, July 12, 2013

July 12 - George Eastman

Business innovator George Eastman was born on July 2, 1854, in Waterville, NY, east of Syracuse, and grew up in Rochester, NY, where his father operated a business college. Largely self-educated, he pursued photography as a hobby in the 1870s when it was cumbersome, expensive and messy, involving chemicals and heavy glass plates. He experimented with silver bromide in emulsion on dry plates, then on paper, then strips of cellulosic film in a roll format. In 1888 he trademarked the name “Kodak” (devised using a Scrabble-like game) and offered a small, fixed-focus box camera for ordinary people to use. It was priced at $25, pre-loaded with a 100-exposure roll of film. A photographer simply took pictures, sent the entire camera and $2 to the Rochester factory, then received finished prints and a reloaded camera. Eastman shrewdly separated picture-taking from photo-processing, using the slogan, "You press the button, we do the rest." He founded the Eastman Company in 1889 and later became a major philanthropist.

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