imagine not having a camera? Well, kids in George
Eastman's time couldn't imagine having a camera!
George Eastman made it possible for kids to have a
camera to put in their pocket.
George was born in
Waterville, New York. He came from a poor family.
George's father died when he was very young. George
worked for his family when he was thirteen. In 1874,
George got a job as a junior bookkeeper at the
Rochester Savings Bank.
When George had
been working at the bank for a while he decided he
needed a vacation. He decided to travel to Santo
Domingo. George's friends told him to buy a camera to
take on his trip.
that buying a camera was a big project. There was no
such thing as film in the 1870's. Photographers took
pictures with glass plates. The plates were coated
with a chemical mixture named collodion. The picture
had to be developed immediately after the photo was
taken. George paid $5.00 for photography
Instead of going to
Santo Domingo, George went to Mackinac Island,
Michigan. In Michigan, George began to tire of lugging
all his camera equipment around.
Soon George read
that English photographers were using dry plates. The
plates were coated with gelatine emulsion. George
began to work on his own gelatine emulsion. He worked
and worked until he finally created his own gelatine
In 1880 George
announced he was leaving the bank. He went into the
dry plate business. The Eastman dry plate company
officially opened January 1, 1881. By November 1881,
the company was making 4000 dry plates a
photographers were complaining the plates weren't
working. George began making a new gelatine emulsion.
He did 469 experiments, but the plates still didn't
George Eastman then
had the idea to make a camera with no plates. George
took a long thin roll of paper, coated it with
collodion, and named it film. In March, 1885, George's
new invention was ready to be shipped. However the
other photographers didn't like the idea. They liked
to keep their customer there while developing the
picture, keeping the customer mesmerized, waiting to
see what the picture would look like.
In 1888, George
produced a small, 22 ounce camera. The photographer
would take pictures, then ship the camera back to the
Eastman company. George realized his camera didn't
have a name. George simply chose his favorite letters
and made the name Kodak. Soon George made a slogan,
"You press the button, we do the rest."
In December, 1889,
The Eastman Kodak company was founded. Thomas Edison
ordered a camera that summer. He used Eastman's camera
to help develop his motion picture camera.
In 1891 The Eastman
Kodak company produced spooled film. The photographer
could load the film in their camera by themselves.
George's company began to mass-produce cameras.
George's cameras had names such as Brownie which was a
camera designed for children. The Falcon and Bulls Eye
were cameras designed for adults.
George became a
millionaire. He liked to give money to help other
people. George's first project was a dentist clinic in
Rochester. Soon kids could have their teeth checked
for a nickel.
Lots of George's
chemists came from M.I.T. George made a large donation
to the school. Another school that got a donation from
Eastman was Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. George
Washington Carver was doing great things there.
George Eastman was
a great man. His main invention was film. He donated a
lot of his money to schools and charity. Thanks to his
invention, we have handheld cameras.
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