There are many inventions that people know about but donít know who invented them. Edwin Land is an inventor that not many people know about. He invented the Polaroid camera. The Polaroid camera was the first instant camera.
Edwin Herbert Land was born in 1909 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He attended Harvard University for college, but he never graduated from Harvard.
Inspired to Invent
How Land became interested in the camera was an accident. He was on vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He took a picture of his young daughter and she wondered why she couldnít see her picture right away. Thatís how he got interested in the camera.
In 1937 Land founded the Polaroid Corporation to make polarized light filters. He developed these filters to be used in sunglasses, automobile headlights, and cameras.
In 1947 Land demonstrated the first instant cameras. These cameras only took black and white pictures. Pictures from this camera would take about one minute to develop inside the camera.
In 1963 Land developed a color film. With this film pictures could be developed in 50 seconds. This wasnít a big improvement, but it was an improvement. By 1972 Land had improved this system. The improvement he made was to make a camera that developed pictures outside of the camera so the photographer could take another picture right away.
How Does Polaroid Film Work?
Did you ever wonder why thereís that thick white space under the picture from a Polaroid camera? The chemicals needed to develop the pictures are contained inside the white packet at the bottom of the picture. What happens is that the film is exposed to light and then a wheel with spikes on it breaks open the packet. This allows chemicals to spread onto the film to make the picture bold and visible. The chemicals work just like those regular pictures are developed in, except that Polaroid pictures come with the chemicals included.
Edwin Land retired as president of Polaroid in 1975 and as chairman of the board in 1982. He then died in 1991 at the age of 82 as a happy rich man.
Edwin Land Timeline
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