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  Eastman, George

in 1854, George Eastman was born in Waterville New York to George Washington Eastman and Maria Kilbourn-Eastman. His father, a proprietor of what newspaper advertisements called the oldest commercial college in the world, died in 1862 when young Eastman was 6 years old.

During his early teen years he worked in an insurance firm and in his spare time, he worked in his workshop selling small items he would form out of metal and wood.

In 1874, Eastman became an American bank clerk and was making a good living at more than $1000 a year.

In 1877, On the recommendation of a fellow bank worker, George bought a camera to take on a vacation to Santa Domingo. Although he did make the trip to Santa Domingo, he had the camera and it marked the beginning of his life-long interest in photography. He purchased a view camera using the wet collodio-procedure and later experimented with the drying plates. It was George's opinion that photography for the ordinary citizen was too difficult.

In 1879 he patented and licensed a mechanism for coating plates.

Then In 1880, George Eastman made the first photographic dry plates in America. He worked weekends and evenings making and selling plates, while maintaining his regular job as a bank clerk.

In 1884, his perseverance and entrepreneurship led to his discovery of the first commercial flexible film and the launch of the Eastman Dry Plate comapny. The first roll film, was made out of paper and sensitized with a Gelantine emulsion. His marketing abilities prompted the success of the new film. This development proved very important to the development of motion pictures.

In 1888, Following his success with flexible film, Eastman continued his entrepreneurial spirit by designing and introducing a new camera for its new roll film called the Kodak.. It was a box camera that took 100 photographs. The Photographs were circular, with a diameter of 64 mm. The small negative format came with an objective of very short focal length. The camera and process was designed so that those with no experience or knowledge of the complicated process of developing film, could use it. The principle of the Kodak system allowed the user to take photographs then return the camera to Kodak for film processing and reloading of film. Turn around took less than ten days. This was the launch of the Kodak Company dynasty.

By 1900, Eastman introduced the one-dollar brownie camera, further strengthening his strong hold on the inexpensive market for the amateur photographer.

Eastman died March 14, 1932 at the age of 77.

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2003-02-16 00:00:00

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