35-millimeter Photography

35mm film remained the standard for photography for decades until digital photography. The film is important because it enabled the miniaturization of cameras. Background The Houston brothers invented roll film and sold the rights to George Eastman. Eventually, Thomas Edison purchased 70mm roll film from Eastman to make movies. Subsequently, Edison employee William Dickson sliced […]

Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED)

Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) emit light with virtually no electricity. Lamps, televisions, mobile phone, and computer monitors are common applications. Additionally, OLEDs are bright, high-contrast, and extremely thin. OLED screens are faster, brighter, and use far less energy than LED-based displays. As the technology develops, they will eventually cost less than LED displays. OLED’s are […]

Camcorder

The camcorder combined a camera and videotape player into one handheld unit. It made moviemaking exponentially easier and less expensive, opening the field to countless new auteurs. Background The first video making system offered for the home was by Ampex. Advertised in the 1963 Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog it cost $30,000 ($247,201 adjusted to 2018) […]

Digital Camera

In 1975, Kodak employee Steven Sasson invented and patented the digital camera in 1975. Sasson’s camera used a CCD to capture 100×100 pixels and stored those on a cassette tape. He chose to store 30 photos per cassette due not to technical limitations but because Kodak sold film in 24 and 36 exposure rolls. Kodak […]

Instant Photographs

Long before the digital camera Polaroid’s delivered instant photographic gratification, albeit it at a steep price. Like countless tech inventors after him, Land dropped out of Harvard. He sneaked into the labs at Columbia while developing early Polaroid light filter technology. Land’s Polaroid created polarizing light filters, especially useful as sunglasses during WWII. Eventually, he […]

Color Movies

Though not the first color movie, The Wizard of Oz left an indelible mark. Swapping from the old world of black and white to color the world flew over the rainbow. Movies have never been the same since. Kalmus, an MIT alum, created a process for color movies and ramped up a company, Technicolor. Initially, […]

Kodak Brownie

“You press the button, we do the rest” announced Kodak introducing the camera their first mass market camera. In May 1888, George Eastman invented and sold a camera packed with film for 100 photographs. Customers snapped their hundred photos then mailed the camera back to Kodak. Kodak mailed back the prints and the camera reloaded […]

Velox Photo Paper

Baekeland, a chemistry student, worked on an improved photographic paper. Before his invention, photo papers required bright sunlight for exposure. This constraint limited photo developing to daylight hours on sunny days and made photo print results unpredictable. Baekeland created a high contrast reliable photo paper. His paper was sensitive enough to work with gas lighting, […]

Roll Film & Roll Film Camera

Kodak’s original camera contained plates. Later versions contained one-hundred exposures; customers would take their pictures, mail in their camera, and the company mailed back developed pictures and a refilled camera. Roll film changed all that, vastly lowering the cost and complexity of photography and eventually enabling the creation of movie film. Ordinary people could purchase […]