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George Eastman blev født den 12. juli 1854 i Waterville NY. Eastman forlod skolen som 15 -årig for at hjælpe med at forsørge sin familie, efter at hans far var død. Han begyndte at arbejde i fotobranchen. Han grundlagde Kodakl -virksomheden i 1884. Den amerikanske opfinder George Eastman introducerede sit Kodak nr. 1 boksekamera i 1887 efter at have perfektioneret tørplade fotografisk film i 1880.
Han bragte fotografering til masserne med sine relativt billige kameraer, herunder Brownie introduceret i 1904 og prissat til kun $ 1.
Meget af Eastmans formue blev doneret til institutioner for videregående uddannelser, især Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eastman havde store smerter i løbet af de sidste to år af sit liv og begik selvmord og efterlod en seddel, der sagde: "mit arbejde er udført, hvorfor vente".
George Eastman blev født den 12. juli 1854 i Waterville, New York. Hans far, George Washington Eastman, drev en handelsskole, hvor han underviste i bogføring og håndværk, men måtte arbejde et andet job med at sælge frugttræer og roser, hvilket tvang ham til at dele sin tid mellem Waterville og Rochester, New York. Den unge George Eastman blev således opdrættet mest af sin mor, Maria (Kilbourn) Eastman, fra en tidlig alder og helt af hende, efter at hans far døde i 1862. I 1870 døde også hans storesøster Katie, der led af polio, forlader Eastman -husstanden permanent arret af ulykke.
I en alder af 15 forlod familien, siden han flyttede til Rochester, Eastman skolen og tog et job som kontordreng for at hjælpe med at forsørge sin familie. I 1875 blev han junior bogholder i Rochester Savings Bank. Ved at spare omhyggeligt kunne han overveje en karriere inden for fast ejendom og lavede i 1877 planer om at rejse til Hispaniola, hvor et boom i landspekulationer var i gang. Overbevist af en ven om, at han bedst kunne dokumentere med turen med et kamera, købte han sit første fotografiske udstyr.
Udflugten fandt aldrig sted, men Eastman var hooked på fotografering. Han opsøgte de to amatørfotografer i Rochester, George Monroe og George Selden, og blev deres villige elev. Et abonnement på "British Journal of Photography" inspirerede ham til at foretage forbedringer inden for tørpladefotografering, derefter et ringere alternativ til vådpladefotografering (en proces, hvor en glasplade blev eksponeret og udviklet, mens den var våd). Disse forsøg resulterede i en formel for gelatinebaseret papirfilm og en maskine til belægning af tørre plader. Han begyndte at sælge tørre tallerkener i april 1880 i et værelse over en musikbutik i finansdistriktet i Rochester.
Eastmans karriere fik et løft, da E & amp H.T. Anthony, datidens førende nationale fotografiske forsyningsdistributør, begyndte at købe sine tallerkener. I en periode fortsatte han med at arbejde i banken, men tilbød sin afsked i september 1881, efter at han blev overgået til en forfremmelse, som han med rette følte var hans.
For Eastman var 1880'erne et dynamisk årti. I 1884 hyrede han William Hall Walker, en kameraopfinder og producent, og sammen designede de Eastman-Walker Roll Holder, som gjorde det muligt for fotografer at fremføre papirfilm gennem et kamera frem for at håndtere individuelle plader. Rulleholderen kom til at definere kameraets grundteknologi indtil introduktionen af digital fotografering i slutningen af det tyvende århundrede. Mere umiddelbart blev det grundlaget for det første Kodak -kamera, oprindeligt kendt som "rulleholderbrystkameraet." Udtrykket Kodak, der blev udtænkt til lejligheden af Eastman selv, dukkede først op i december 1887.
Mens det første Kodak -kamera var vildt populært blandt amatører, gav papirfilmen, der blev brugt i det, middelmådige resultater. Henry Reichenbach, en kemiker, der blev ansat til at arbejde med emulsioner, blev bedt om at komme med en gennemsigtig, fleksibel film. Succes kom i februar 1889, da Reichenbach opnåede en løsning, der, når den flød over glas og fik lov til at fordampe, ville producere en gennemsigtig fleksibel film, der derefter kunne skæres i strimler og indsættes i kameraer. Denne film, som blev brugt af Thomas Edison i hans tidlige eksperimenter med filmkameraet, blev midtpunktet i Eastman-imperiet, selvom patentet senere blev bestridt med succes.
I 1890'erne faldt Eastman -virksomheden hårde tider med Reichenbachs afgang og en national finansiel depression, men det var kommet sig i 1900, året hvor virksomheden introducerede Brownie -kameraet, der solgte for en dollar. Med det tyvende århundredes komme havde en kombination af innovation, vedholdenhed og hårdhændet forretningsforstand sat Eastman -virksomheden i spidsen for fotografisk industri internationalt, en position det aldrig har givet afkald på.
George Eastman giftede sig aldrig, selvom han havde et langt platonisk forhold til Josephine Dickman, en uddannet sanger og konen til forretningsforbindelsen George Dickman, og han blev især tæt på hende efter Maria Eastmans død i 1907. En kendt filantrop, Eastman gav mere end $ 100 millioner væk til velgørende formål og gjorde et punkt i at gøre det i løbet af sin levetid, frem for at oprette et fundament. Han var også en ivrig rejsende og musikelsker. Med udsigt til livet i kørestol tog han sit eget liv med en automatisk pistol den 14. marts 1932.
George Eastmans store historiske betydning var som forretningsentreprenør. Han byggede et nyt og hurtigt voksende multinationalt selskab, der forvandlede den fotografiske industri i sin tid, og som leverede verdensomspændende lederskab i mere end et århundrede. Eastman var for fotografisk industri, hvad John D. Rockefeller var for olieindustrien og James Duke var for tobaksindustrien, en målrettet amerikansk iværksætter af international betydning.
Ved hjælp af sin introduktion af det populære Kodak -kamera ombyggede Eastman den lille, søvnige amerikanske fotografiske industri, som han var kommet ind i i 1880. Domineret af et par nationale forsyningshuse og et relativt lille antal professionelle studiefotografer, stod den gamle industri overfor en ung ihærdig forretningsmand . Han omarbejdede hurtigt industrien til en yderst innovativ og hurtigt voksende, hvor en massiv virksomhed kom til at fremstå på verdensplan.
Rochester -iværksætteren greb initiativet på et tidspunkt, hvor andre amerikanske erhvervsinnovatorer ligeledes stod over for det nye nationale marked, der var opstået med færdiggørelsen af netværket af amerikanske jernbaner. Ligesom Eastman konfronterede disse forretningsmænd profit-skrumpende priskonkurrence. De mest visionære byggede store virksomheder, ofte ved at erhverve eller fusionere med konkurrenter eller ved at bygge virksomheder med integreret marketing, produktion og råvareforsyningsfaciliteter. Eastman gjorde begge dele.
I midten af 1890'erne overbeviste Eastmans tidligere erfaring i branchen ham om, at både amatører og professionelle fotografer var villige til at betale en overkommelig pris for at sikre kvalitet og absolut pålidelighed af fotofølsomme materialer såsom rullefilm, tørre plader og fotografisk trykpapir. Derfor udviklede Eastman en række mangfoldige forretningsstrategier i udvikling, der søgte at opretholde et højt overskud ved at konkurrere med produktkvalitet, pålidelighed og forbedringer i stedet for at konkurrere med lavere priser. Disse strategier involverede 1) produktion af højkvalitets og pålidelige lysfølsomme materialer 2) løbende forbedringer af filmkameraer 3) erhvervelse af konkurrerende virksomheder 4) integration af marketing, produktion og råvareforsyning i et selskab 5) forskningsoverlegenhed inden for fotografisk videnskab og teknologi og 6) udvikling af nøglepersonale til optimering af overskud og til sidst at arve de øverste lederstillinger i virksomheden.
Allerede i midten af 1890'erne havde Eastman artikulerede strategier for løbende forbedringer af filmkameraer, der omfattede udvikling af nye kamerafunktioner i virksomheden og køb af patenter til dem fra andre. Mellem 1895 og 1898 købte Eastman endda tre små kameravirksomheder for at erhverve patenter.
Fra 1885, da han var begyndt at producere fotografisk trykpapir, kæmpede Eastman hårdt for at bevare en betydelig markedsandel. For at opnå en konkurrencefordel forhandlede han og Charles Abbott, formand for et konkurrerende fotografisk papirfirma, i 1898 en eksklusiv kontrakt for Nordamerika om køb af råpapir fra den store internationale leverandør, General Paper Company. Beliggende i Bruxelles, Belgien, producerede dette firma verdens bedste råpapir til fotografiske producenter. Eastman og Abbott brugte derefter deres kontrol med råpapir til at kombinere divisionen fotografisk papir i Eastman Kodak med Abbotts firma og to andre store fotografiske papirvirksomheder. Inden for tre år erhvervede Eastman Kodak derefter denne mejetærsker og dominerede sektoren.
Mellem 1902 og 1904 vendte Eastman opmærksomheden mod tørre tallerkener og erhvervede en engelsk og tre store amerikanske producenter. Han opnåede ikke kun dominans i denne sektor, men erhvervede også vitale emulsionsfremstillende forretningshemmeligheder, der styrket kvaliteten af rullefilm og hjalp med at opretholde verdensomspændende dominans blandt amatørfotografer og filmfotografer.
Inden for et årti havde George Eastman konsolideret de fleste af de førende amerikanske virksomheder i Eastman Kodak spredt i branchens forskellige produktionssektorer. Desuden havde han formet sit firma til et større multinationalt selskab med produktions- og distributionsfaciliteter rundt om i verden. Det er betydningsfuldt, at Eastman gennemførte denne konsolidering uden "fordel" for magtfulde JP Morgan-lignende investeringsbanker.
I mellemtiden var Eastman ligesom Rockefeller, Duke, Ford og andre begyndt at samle de funktioner, der tidligere var udført af separate marketinghuse, produktionsvirksomheder og materielforsyningsvirksomheder inden for Eastman Kodak. Oprindeligt var hans lille virksomhed en produktionsvirksomhed, men allerede i midten af 1880'erne var han begyndt at udvikle sin egen salgsafdeling, selv med at etablere et outlet i London. I det første årti af det 20. århundrede ekspanderede han på verdensplan og købte tyve store fotografiske detailbutikker i store byer i USA og i Canada. I mellemtiden var han begyndt at kontrollere basale råvarer gennem langsigtede kontrakter som den med General Paper Company. Han opbyggede derefter gradvist kapaciteten til at producere vitalt nødvendige materialer såsom råpapir, gelatine, kemikalier og linser. Han købte endda en kulmine til virksomhedens brændstofbehov.
Ved at samle fremstilling, salg og produktion af råvarer i ét firma opnåede koordinerede, pålidelige operationer, der bidrog til væksten og øget rentabilitet i Eastman Kodak Company. I 1912 hyrede Eastman engelsk fotoforsker, Dr. C. E. Kenneth Mees, til at oprette og lede Eastman Kodak Research Laboratory i Rochester, New York. Eastman tilbød Mees, at hans nye laboratorium ikke behøver at producere et praktisk produkt i et årti, men beordrede ham med ansvaret for "fotograferingens fremtid". Mees og andre medlemmer af Eastmans nøje udvalgte ledelsesteam sikrede virkelig virksomhedens fremtid. Det var Eastmans eneste barn, der blev plejet i et halvt århundrede af fotografibranchens mest visionære iværksætter.
Eastman patenterer en tørpladeproces
Da George Eastman begyndte at studere fotografering i 1877, blev der taget billeder ved hjælp af en proces kaldet vådpladefotografering. Han beskrev senere denne proces, da han huskede sine første fotografiske udflugter gennem Rochester med sin mentor George Monroe:
Eastman besluttede fra begyndelsen at forenkle denne proces. Da han ikke arbejdede på sit bankjob, fortsatte han med at eksperimentere med fotografering og for at udvide sin viden tegnede han et abonnement på "British Journal of Photography". Det første nummer, han modtog, som ankom i februar 1878, indeholdt spændende nyheder: Charles Bennett havde udviklet en formel, der gjorde tørpladeemulsioner hurtigere.
Dette var al den opmuntring, Eastman havde brug for. Uuddannet og uden legitimation begyndte han at sluge den fotografiske litteratur og svare med så mange amatører, som han kunne finde. Han kontaktede en professionel, ene Carey Lea, og harangued ham med spørgsmål, indtil læreren blev elev. Ofte fandt hans mor om morgenen sovende på gulvet.
Eastman eksperimenterede oprindeligt med sin formel for modnet gelatine og sølvbromid ved at hælde den fra en tekande på en glasplade og derefter fordele den med en glasstang. Denne metode var tidskrævende og derfor dyr, men derfor lod han en belægningsmaskine bygge efter hans specifikationer. I sin overordnede stræben efter enkelhed lod han også bygge et kamera, der var lettere end de almindelige tilgængelige. Med dette system tog han sit første tørpladefotografi: en udsigt over Charles P. Ham-bygningen på tværs af gaden fra sit vindue.
Eastmans opmærksomhed på en belægningsmaskine og et letvægts kamera viser ham tænke i produktionsomkostninger fra et tidligt stadium. Og faktisk på et tidspunkt, hvor tørretallerkeninnovatorer tilstoppede annoncesiderne i fotografiske tidsskrifter, var effektivitet i produktionen det, der ville få Eastman til at skille sig ud. Men i 1878 var han stadig en ydmyg bankbetjent med lidt kapital til rådighed. I en vis ufølsomhed opfordrede han sin onkel, Horace Eastman, til at låne, men Horaces kone havde lige været forpligtet til et vanvittigt asyl, og der var ingen penge til disse kvartaler.
Uforfærdet udtænkte Eastman en mere risikabel plan: han ville tage til London, hvor tørrepladevirksomheden voksede, sælge rettighederne til sin belægningsmaskine og bruge pengene til at starte sin egen virksomhed derhjemme. Så off Eastman gik, $ 400 drænet fra sin opsparingskonto, uden en personlig kontakt i London til hans navn og mere kritisk uden at have skaffet patent på sin belægningsmaskine.
På sin første dag i London marcherede Eastman ind på kontorerne i "British Journal of Photography." Tidsskriftets prestigefyldte redaktør, W. B. Bolton, var vantro og måske endda lidt testet først, men da Eastman viste, hvad han kunne, lovede Bolton at åbne døre for ham. Dette førte Eastman til Charles Fry, hvis partner var Charles Bennett-den samme mand, hvis tørpladeproces han havde tilpasset til eget brug. Da han så, at Bennett og Fry ikke var i stand til at udfylde deres ordrer ved hjælp af det, der blev betragtet som topmoderne inden for tørretumbler, vendte Eastman tilbage til Amerika og kontaktede George Selden, en anden af hans mentorer og en dygtig patentadvokat. Sammen ansøgte de om patent på hans belægningsmaskine i september 1879.
Mens han ventede på resultater fra patentkontoret, fortsatte Eastman med at forhandle med Fry i London. Til sidst kom der ikke noget ud af det. Men i april 1880, da han modtog patent på en "metode og apparat til belægning af plader til brug i fotografering", begyndte hans belægningsmaskines ord at sprede sig. Implikationen for fotografer var klar: Hvis gelatine-tørret tallerkenfotografering kunne gøres levedygtig, skulle de ikke længere lave deres egne tallerkener på stedet, men kunne købe dem færdigpakkede fra en producent.
Eastman var ivrig efter at drage fordel af denne fremdrift og lejede et værelse over en musikbutik i Rochesters finansdistrikt og begyndte at slå tørre tallerkener ud med sin belægningsmaskine. Fabrikken var en undersøgelse i voldsom økonomi med rum til alt lige ned til hans håndklæder. Denne dedikation til effektivitet gav hurtigt resultat. I juli havde han en ny, forbedret belægningsmaskine at promovere. I august købte Edward Anthony, chef for det mest prestigefyldte nationale fotografiske forsyningshus i Amerika, Eastmans tallerkener. Kapital ankom, inden året var ude af Henry Strong, en familieven.
Tre år efter at have taget sit første fotografi var George Eastman på vej.
Eastman og masseproduktion
Selvom det ikke ofte bemærkes, var George Eastmans drøm om et kamera, der kunne fremstilles for masserne, afhængig af eksistensen af udskiftelige dele. I slutningen af det nittende århundrede var dette stadig et stort set uprøvet princip med en stenet historie, der går næsten tilbage til begyndelsen af republikken.
Den første note til at forsøge målet med udskiftelige dele var Eli Whitney. Efter at have set sit forsøg på at markedsføre sin bomulds gin ende i katastrofe, vendte Whitney sig i 1797 til tanken om pistolfremstilling. På det tidspunkt forventede kongressen et angreb fra Napoleon. På grund af denne frygt var Whitney i stand til at indlede praksis med offentlige kontrakter for våbenhandlere - en skik, der fortsætter den dag i dag.
Kontrakten var forbløffende generøs. Den trådte i kraft den 21. juni 1798 og opfordrede Whitney til at producere 10.000 musketter, hvoraf de første 4.000 ville blive leveret om halvandet år. For hver musket, der blev leveret, ville han modtage $ 13,40 for et samlet beløb på $ 134.000 med forskud undervejs, hvis det er nødvendigt. Hvad der gjorde denne flotte sum endnu mere forbløffende var, at Whitney næsten ikke havde kendskab til våbenfremstilling i en tid, hvor de bedste våben ikke var i stand til at producere mere end 5.000 kanoner om året.
Whitney oprettede en fabrik i East Haven, Connecticut og kørte sine arbejdere hårdt, men efter hans første deadline den 30. september 1799 havde han ingen musketter at vise for sig selv. Faktisk havde han ikke engang udstyret sit arsenal. Han tænkte hurtigt og skrev et brev til udenrigsminister Oliver Wolcott, hvor han annoncerede et "nyt princip" inden for fremstilling. Dette princip, hævdede han, ville revolutionere denne våbenindustri, selvom den forbedrede varernes kvalitet.
"Et af mine primære formål," skrev han, "er at danne værktøjer, så værktøjerne selv skal forme værket og give hver del sin retfærdige andel - som når det er udført, vil give ekspedition, ensartethed og præcision til det hele . " Forundret gav Wolcott en forlængelse, på betingelse af at Whitney demonstrerede sine resultater.
I januar 1801, før et publikum, der omfattede præsident John Adams og Whitneys gamle ven, valgte præsident Thomas Jefferson, viste Whitney personligt, hvordan han kunne passe 10 forskellige låse ind i den samme musket ved hjælp af en almindelig skruetrækker. Han gjorde derefter en bedre og tog 100 forskellige låse fra hinanden, krypterede deres stykker og satte dem sammen igen "ved at tage de første stykker, der kommer til hånden." Hans publikum var forbløffet.
Desværre var Whitneys låse ikke engang eksternt udskiftelige. Som senere blev opdaget, bar hans individuelle låsekomponenter alle mærker af individuelt formede stykker. Historikeren Merritt Roe Smith er kategorisk i sagen: "Whitney må have iscenesat sin demonstration fra 1801 med eksemplarer specielt forberedt til lejligheden."
Mange amerikanske industrimænd påstod blitigt udskiftelighed efter Whitney uden det mindste bevis for at bakke op om deres påstande. Samuel Colt, opfinderen af six-shooteren, gik endda sammen med Eli Whitney, Jr., for at forstærke illusionen om succes. Men faktisk fandt de virkelige fremskridt sted i England, mens amerikanerne fiddlede.
Henry Maudslay voksede op omkring værfterne i Woolwich, hvor han i en tidlig alder gjorde sig nyttig ved at lave og fylde patroner til det lokale arsenal. I den grønne alder af 13 fik han øjet af den berømte låsesmed og VVS -geni Joseph Bramah. Men Maudslay var for lys til at blive et andet geni meget længe. Da Bramah nægtede at give ham en lønforhøjelse, slog han til på egen hånd.
I 1797 havde Maudslay oprettet sin egen butik og udviklet en drejebænk, der forbedrede tidligere drejebænke både i hastigheden og præcisionen, hvormed den kunne skære metal. I virkeligheden tillod Maudslays drejebænk, der inkorporerede et blad af smeltedigel stål monteret på nøjagtigt høvlede trekantede bjælker, ham at udføre arbejde i stor skala og samtidig bevare låsesmeden eller urmagerens præcision.
Året 1808 fandt Maudslay i Portsmouth og viste trærigningsblokke, som stort set blev brugt ombord på flådeskibe til hurtigt at flytte kanoner i skudposition. På det tidspunkt krævede et fartøj af tredje klasse 1.400 blokke, som alle blev fremstillet i hånden. Dette var ikke noget problem for Maudslay, der kunne producere 130.000 blokke om året.
Maudslays arbejde åbnede vejen for fremstilling af udskiftelige dele, og han blev hurtigt meget eftertragtet af håbefulde ingeniører. Blandt hans mange lærlinge var Joseph Whitworth, der udviklede måleinstrumenter, der var nøjagtige til en milliontedel af en tomme. Dette var et vigtigt skridt, fordi udskiftelighed var afhængig af præcist værktøjsdele, som naturligvis skulle være målbare for at kunne laves.
Whitworth fortsatte med at beskrive en metode til standardisering af gevind i et papir fra 1841 med titlen "Et ensartet system af skruegevind." De første standardiserede skruer fulgte snart, og med dem var masseproduktion endelig inden for rækkevidde.
I en æra, hvor håndlavede maskiner stadig var normen, kom forsøg på at anvende præcisionsværktøj til bestemte produkter nødvendigvis fra sag til sag. Det mest berømte eksempel er naturligvis Henry Fords Model T -bil, der først rullede af samlebåndene i 1909. Men faktisk kom George Eastman derhen før Ford.
Mens Eastman tidligt erkendte, at hans overskud lå i filmsalg, vidste han også, at han slet ikke ville sælge film, hvis hans kameraer ikke fungerede. Eastman-Walker Roll Holder, der blev introduceret i 1885, viste, hvor godt han havde overvejet dette problem. Selvom det indeholdt 17 separate dele, var hans firma i stand til at håndtere en stor mængde ordrer fra begyndelsen. Dette blev endnu mere tydeligt i 1888, da rulleholderen blev indarbejdet i Kodak "rulleholderbrystkamera", og salget sprang til 5.000 enheder på seks måneder. Selvom dette produkt til tider gik i stykker, var delene faktisk udskiftelige og derfor relativt lette at reparere, selvom Eastman fulgte med i salget.
Efter et århundrede med falske påstande repræsenterede sloganet fra mindst en amerikaner - Kodaks "Du trykker på knappen, vi gør resten" - mere end en tom pral.
Eastman markedsfører Kodak -linjen
Eastmans marketingkarriere begyndte hovedsageligt i 1885, da han introducerede Eastman-Walker Roll Holder, hvilket gjorde det muligt at fremskynde en række eksponeringer gennem kameraet. Med denne opfindelse blev et helt nyt koncept inden for fotografering lanceret - et kamera enhver kunne bruge. Hans udfordring var at gøre dette koncept klart for en offentlighed, der er vant til at tænke på fotografisk udstyr som forbudt og uklart.
Eastmans første slag var måske hans mest geniale. Et mærkenavn, som han så det, "må ikke betyde noget. Hvis navnet ikke har en ordbogsdefinition, skal det kun knyttes til dit produkt." Til dette formål opfandt og varemærkede han udtrykket Kodak, som var let at huske og svært at stave forkert.
Navnet blev først brugt i december 1887 og blev fanget som en løbeild. På næsten ingen tid blev Kodak brugt som substantiv, verbum og tillægsord. Folk, der brugte produktet, blev kendt som Kodakers, og bogstavet K blev et fair spil for alle, der kunne finde ud af at inkorporere det i et navn: Kola, Kristmas, Kolumbus Day. Kodak Kid og Kodak Komics spirede op, ligesom *Captain Kodak *, en roman for unge voksne af Alexander Black. Et falskt Kodak Company oprettede butik i Florida, og utallige andre holdt Eastmans juridiske afdeling travlt med at jagte krænkelser af varemærket.
Navnet var en lovende start, men det var næppe den eneste strategi, Eastman marskalerede. Allerede fra begyndelsen erkendte han, at livsnerven i hans virksomhed lå hos børn, som ville holde fotografer interesserede længe efter, at kameraets nyhed var slidt op. De tidlige Kodak -annoncer viser denne visdom på arbejdspladsen, da han stræbte efter at skildre familiebegivenheder i forbindelse med sit produkt. Som engang amatørmaler viste han endda en vis flair for design i disse annoncer og kørte dem i stor blok med elegante stregtegninger på et tidspunkt, hvor den typiske annonce var optaget af information. Ifølge traditionen var det også Eastman, der ramte ideen om den lyse gule emballage, der selv i dag skiller sig ud på hylder fulde af varer.
Efter succesens rødme blev det imidlertid tydeligt, at Eastman strakte sig for tyndt, så han begyndte at kaste rundt for, at nogen kunne overtage jobbet som reklame for virksomheden. Han fandt den helt rigtige mand i Lewis Burnell Jones, kandidat fra University of Rochester og arbejdede derefter for en avis i Syracuse, som han hyrede i marts 1892. Dapper og sløv blev Jones en grundpille i Eastman -virksomheden i de næste fire årtier. .
Jones viste sin medfødte forståelse af, hvor fotografiforretningen var på vej hen, da han fortalte en interviewer, at "det var charmen ved fotografering ikke bare denne lille sorte boks, der skal sælges til offentligheden." Faktisk behøvede han ikke engang instruktioner i virksomhedsplanen. En dag kaldte Eastman ham ind på sit kontor og spurgte ham, hvorfor hans eksemplar var så godt. Da Jones vovede, at det var fordi det var skrevet til offentligheden og ikke til chefen, fortalte Eastman ham: "Fra nu af vil jeg ikke se nogen annoncer, før de er udskrevet." Med denne aftale kom offentligheden til at læse slogans som "Hvis det ikke er en østmand, er det ikke en Kodak", "Billede fremad! Kodak som du går!" og den hårdt sælgende "Det øjebliksbillede, du vil have i morgen, skal du tage i dag."
Måske var den mest effektive annonceteknik, der kom ud af Eastman -virksomheden, dog ikke ord, men et billede: Kodak -pigen. Det var Eastman, den flerårige ungkarl, der sprang denne idé (selvom han lånte den ganske vist fra Gibson Girls -kampagnen) til offentligheden i 1888, da han udstyrede en udendørs kvinde i en stribet kjole og fik taget sit billede med en kamera i hendes hånd. Først blev Kodak-pigerne gengivet i stregtegninger, men i 1901, med forbedringer i halvton, tryk, fotografering, dukkede den første fotografisk illustrerede Kodak-pige op i en avisannonce.
Kodak-pigen var en selvstændig sind og var bekvemt både fotograf og fotografisk motiv, og i årenes løb blev en dreng (og mand) en hemmelig beundrer, mens utallige piger kopierede hendes look. Så sent som i 1960'erne levede traditionen videre, da modeller trimmet ud i stribede dragter ned på Englands strande, snappede billeder af hvem der tilfældigvis var der. På dette tidspunkt var selvfølgelig Eastmans reklamekampagne blevet så grundigt indgraveret i folks sind, at ingen behøvede at blive informeret om dens betydning. At tage billeder af smukke piger med Kodak -kameraer i hænderne, der selv tog billeder, var simpelthen noget, alle gjorde.
Kodak -kameraet starter en dille
Introduktionen af Kodak -kameraet fra maj 1888 var en dramatisk begivenhed. Selvom det kostede $ 25 (mange penge i de dage, men mindre end omkostningerne ved vådpladekameraer), var det let at bruge, som Eastman gjorde det klart med sit reklameslogan: "Du trykker på knappen, vi gør det hvile."
Og folk trykkede på knappen. I august havde Eastman problemer med at udfylde ordrer, da Kodak -kameraer kom ind på den offentlige arena. Præsident Grover Cleveland ejede en, selvom han tilsyneladende var langsom til at lære at dreje nøglen, der fremskyndede filmen, ligesom Dalai Lama, der tog hans med sig, da han forlod Tibet for første gang. Gilbert og Sullivan betalte Eastman det ultimative kompliment ved at forevige sit produkt i sang til operetten "Utopia":
Så tager hele mængden vores blik ned i lommebøger. For at diagnosticere vores beskedne positur Kodakkerne gør deres bedste: Hvis du vil have beviser for, hvad der er jomfruelig skammelighed, skal du trykke på en knap- og vi gør resten!
Udseendet af Eastmans kameraer var så pludseligt og så gennemgribende, at reaktionen i nogle kvartaler var frygt. En skikkelse, der kaldes "kamerafjælpen", begyndte at dukke op på badebyer og strømmede rundt i lokalerne, indtil han kunne fange kvindelige badende uforvarende. En udvej følte tendensen så stærkt, at den lagde en meddelelse op: "MENNESKER ER FORBUDT AT BRUGE DERES KODAKS PÅ STRANDEN." Andre steder var ikke sikrere. For en tid blev Kodak -kameraer forbudt fra Washington -monumentet. "Hartford Courant" slog også alarm og erklærede, at "den beroligede borger ikke kan forkæle sig med nogen sjovhed uden risiko for at blive fanget i handlingen og få sit fotografi til at gå rundt blandt sine søndagsskolebørn."
Hilariousness var imidlertid nøglen. Hvor daguerreotypen og dens vådplade-efterfølgere havde krævet stilhed fra deres motiver, kunne Kodak-kameraet fange deres spontanitet. Så overbevisende var disse nye billeder af mennesker, at det i dag er svært at tro, at nogen overhovedet havde haft det sjovt i daguerreotypens alder.
Registrerede øjebliksbillede simpelthen følelser, der før havde undgået kameraer, eller ændrede det faktisk den måde, folk følte om sig selv? Spørgsmålet er muligvis ubesvaret i sidste ende, men det er bestemt rigtigt, at Kodak -kameraet fangede Amerika på præcis det tidspunkt, hvor Amerika nåede nye højder i livlighed. Overalt var tempoet ved at tage til. De første biler dukkede op på gaderne. Telefoner begyndte at pryde almindelige borgeres hjem. Film, delvis muliggjort gennem Eastmans bidrag til celluloidfilm, optog faktisk al denne aktivitet og fremskyndede den derefter ved at præsentere den for seerne.
Selvfølgelig var selve legemliggørelsen af sjov også sprunget ud i udkanten af New York City i løbet af samme tid. Coney Island, berømt for så mange ting, var en sand fotogen himmel. Hvor engang besøgende skulle nøjes med Camera Obscura Observatory (opført i 1883), holdt de pludselig billedernes magt i deres hænder: snapshots på pariserhjulet, snapshots på rutsjebaner, de kunne tage snapshots næsten hvor som helst.
I endnu et eksempel på serendipitet blev Brownie -kameraet, der bragte prisen på et Kodak -kamera ned til en virkelig demokratisk dollar, introduceret i 1900, ligesom Coney Island undergik en postkorteksplosion. I 1898, med forbedring af trykningsteknikker og stigning i transporthastigheder, blev omkostningerne ved postkort sænket fra to øre til et, og postkort begyndte at spredes fra Coney Island med en forbløffende hastighed: på en enkelt dag i september 1906 blev en forbløffende 200.000 postkort blev poststemplet fra Coney Island.
Selvom fotografierne på Coney Island -postkortene stort set ikke blev taget med Brownie -kameraer, var de ikke desto mindre stærke symboler for deres modtagere, der for første gang så, hvor sjovt fotografering kunne være. Det tyvende århundrede var kommet, og med det, billedet af et smilende Amerika.
Eastman Kodak introducerer fotografering i fuld farve
Med det tyvende århundredes komme og dets berusende rytmer intensiverede mange innovatører deres søgen efter midlerne til at gengive fotografering i fuld farve. George Eastman var lige så interesseret som nogen i at overvinde problemet. Indeed, convinced (correctly) that color photography would be mostly the province of amateurs, he dedicated himself to finding a process that not only could offer the complete spectrum of colors but would be simple to use. He eventually found one, although it would not turn out to be simple to develop.
In 1910, when Eastman established a color laboratory at Kodak Park under the leadership of MIT graduate Emerson Packard, lantern slides and hand-colored prints were enjoying tremendous popularity. Among the more successful marketers of lanterns slides were the Lumiere brothers, who a decade earlier had stunned the world with their projected motion pictures. The Lumieres offered to sell their lantern-slide operation to Eastman, but a visit to their Paris offices revealed a family operation in disarray, and Eastman, a prim bachelor with strict business standards, left in disgust.
Nevertheless, the European trip had strengthened Eastman's resolve. "I spent a good deal of time on new developments in color," he wrote of the trip, "which I hope will develop into something commercial." At Kodak Park, he instructed Packard to proceed as best he could without infringing on the Lumiere patents.
A series of efforts led by Packard and other Kodak employees resulted in the first signs of victory: a process that used red and green filters and transformed negatives directly into positives. Dubbed Kodachrome, the color process would no doubt have gone to market, but progress was stalled by the outbreak of World War I. Adding insult to injury, Eastman's Kodachrome prints received poor reviews at a March 1915 demonstration at the Royal Photographic Society and at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.
At this impasse, two complete amateurs entered the story and saved the day. Leopold Damrosch Mannes and Leopold Godowsky, Jr., both sons of famous musicians, had met as schoolmates and been drawn together by their mutual interest in sonatas and the Brownie camera. After seeing an early color movie, Mannes and Godowsky became convinced that they could do better and built a three-lens camera that combined the three primary colors projected as light. This had already been done by others, but in their excitement the failures of others did not seem worth exploring.
The two went on to college and met again in New York after graduation, whereon they fell to photographic experimentation again. With the help of impresario S. L. (Roxy) Rothafel, they were able to use the projection booth at the Rialto to produce their first dark, fuzzy pictures. Soon they had surpassed the efforts of others and were photographing a part of the color spectrum on double-layered plates -- in the bathtubs and sinks of their homes.
Their parents did not approve of these scientific forays, however, and so in 1922 they turned to George Eastman for financial help. Eastman proved non-committal, but two years later, Mannes and Godowsky were able to ingratiate themselves with C.E. Kenneth Mees, director of the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratory, and with that slender entree, to receive funding from other sources.
In 1930 the Eastman Kodak Company made improvements in color-movie technology, but it still lagged behind the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation. Mees, anxious to remain at the forefront, finally agreed to hire Mannes and Godowsky. (By this time, Eastman himself, ill and five years into his retirement, was far from the action at Kodak Park.)
With the Eastman School of Music at their disposal, the duo were finally able to hit their stride, although their methods were confusing to those around them. At the school, they were known as "those color experts," at Kodak Park, as "man and God." Working in a completely light-tight darkroom, they timed their plate developing by whistling Brahms at two beats to the second, leaving their colleagues to wonder what had become of the famed Kodak efficiency ethic.
Doubts about Mannes and Godowsky increased as the Great Depression wore on. Mees, by then a vice president, could only hope for the best as he stalled other departments filled with accomplished chemists and pressured the musicians for results. Under these conditions, Mannes and Godowsky developed first a two-color film and then a three-color one, both of which could be easily used by amateurs.
The Kodachrome name was revived, and on April 15, 1935, Kodachrome motion picture film went on sale. Shortly after that, Eastman Kodak introduced Kodachrome film for color slides. The process by which this film was developed was -- and still is -- maddeningly complex, but as with everything else at Kodak, the amateur did not have to worry about that, since developing was handled by the company. Vivid color photography for everyday use had become a reality.
Eastman Becomes a Mystery Donor to MIT
On February 29, 1912, Frank Lovejoy, then the general manager of Eastman Kodak, wrote George Eastman, suggesting that "you may be willing to lend a helping hand, and I am writing to say that I should welcome an opportunity of placing the plans before you." The help Lovejoy was requesting was a donation to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, of which he was an alumnus.
MIT was planning to build a new campus, and though its board of trustees included such financial heavyweights as T. Coleman du Pont and engineer Arthur D. Little, they could only come up with $500,000 of the $750,000 needed for the plan. With Eastman in mind, Richard Cockburn Maclaurin, the president of MIT, had contacted Lovejoy, hoping he would act as an intermediary.
Eastman was extremely careful about where his money went and was apt to micro-manage its use. He was known to demand that the buildings he funded be constructed with a minimum of ornament so as to cut cost, a habit that led Claude Bragdon, who designed several building funded by Eastman, to compare his attitude to "that of Pharaoh." Alternately, Eastman might insist on extra expenses to create the proper effect, as when the University of Rochester was expanding its hospital, and he demanded the stairwell corners be painted white, on the theory that "only a hardened sinner would spit in a white corner." Most important perhaps was Eastman's lifelong interest in guarding his privacy, a requirement that became less sustainable with each bequest he made.
But Eastman had also long admired MIT. Not only were two of his top assistants, Lovejoy and engineer Darragh de Lancey, graduates of the school, but he had read several of Maclaurin's annual reports to MIT's trustees and was familiar with his plans.
Maclaurin and Eastman met on March 5 at the Hotel Belmont in New York City, and the meeting spilled over into the evening as Maclaurin waxed eloquent on his plans for the new campus at MIT. As the meeting finally drew to a close, Eastman asked, "What sum will be needed?"
"Two and a half million," Maclaurin replied.
Eastman immediately agreed to send a check in that amount, on one condition: that his gift remain anonymous. Maclaurin happily accepted these terms, although it put him in an unusual quandary. The term "anonymous giver" was altogether too clumsy for everyday use. After a time, he decided on "Mr. Smith" as a pseudonym and gave the public two small clues: Mr. Smith did not live in Massachusetts, and he had never attended MIT.
The creation of Mr. Smith was the closest Eastman ever came to cultivating a public persona. It became a kind of a game to guess his identity, though no one did. MIT students went so far as to write lyrics on the subject, which were sung to the tune of "Marching Through Georgia":
Bring the good old bugle, boys, and we'll sing another song,
Of "Mr. Smith" and Dupy and the Corporation throng
Of loyal Tech alumni, almost ten thousand strong,
Who give--what we want--when we want it.
Hurrah! Hurrah! for Tech and Boston beans,
Hurrah! Hurrah! for "Smith," who'er that means
May he always have a hundred million in his jeans,
So we'll get -- what we want -- when we want it.
And so it went for another eight years, during which time Eastman donated $20 million in cash and Kodak stock to MIT. So safe was his identity that in 1916 he attended a banquet to celebrate the new campus and even joined in as the alumni toasted the marvelous Mr. Smith.
Eastman continued to keep Maclaurin busy trying to satisfy his demands. In 1918 he offered MIT $4 million in Kodak shares if matching funds could be found by December 31, 1919. Finally, seeing that these stipulations were wearing Maclaurin down, Eastman agreed, as a consolation prize, to reveal himself as the mystery donor at the annual alumni dinner on January 10, 1920.
The revelation that Mr. Smith was George Eastman, the famous recluse of Rochester, was front-page news. Maclaurin did not live to enjoy it, however. Exhausted from raising the $4 million to match Eastman's request, he had come down with pneumonia in December 1919, and Maclaurin died a week later, at the age of 50. His speech revealing Eastman's identity had to be read by others.
Eastman went on to become one of the major philanthropists of his era. On December 10, 1924, he held a press conference to announce that, besides retiring from Eastman Kodak, he would donate the majority of his fortune rather than hold onto it. In the short term, this meant $30 million in bequests that he had earmarked for four institutions. Two of these were institutions of higher learning for African Americans -- the Hampton Institute and the Tuskegee Institute. The others were the University of Rochester, where he had already established the Eastman School of Music. For the remaining eight years of his life, he continued to give smaller amounts to favorite causes such as dental clinics and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
His reasons were plain enough. "If a man has wealth," he declared in 1923, "he has to make a choice, because there is the money heaping up. He can keep it together in a bunch, and then leave it for others to administer after he is dead. Or he can get it into action and have fun, while he is still alive. I prefer getting it into action and adapting it to human needs, and making the plan work."
Eastman Retires and Goes on a Safari
In 1917, Eastman, having given the world permission to smile, decided he might be permitted himself, and put it exactly that way. "I never smiled until I was forty," he said. "Since then, I have tried to win back something of the fun that other men had when they were boys."
This remark is rather curious, in that Eastman had been dedicated to the fine art of the vacation for decades. Having first thrown himself into his career after an trip to Hispaniola fell through in 1877, he had been traveling ever since--at first to London, then on bicycle tours of Europe and Russia, camping trips out West and, if all else failed, getaways to Oak Lodge, his North Carolina retreat.
But there was also a certain frustrated quality to his constant globetrotting. Upon returning home, he was typically quick to let people know how much fun his trips had been, yet fun is the one thing that seemed to be lacking. Eastman's notion of relaxation was to plan out every moment in the itineraries of his traveling companions, right down to the courses of their meals. In this respect, it makes some sense that he would feel the urge to make his final expeditions more dramatic than usual. If he was going to break through his own net of control, it would take more than a bicycle tour through St. Petersburg.
Fittingly, the plan was linked to film. In the early 1920s, Martin Johnson, an exclusive sales agent for Kodak cameras and supplies in Missouri, and his wife, Osa, traveled to Africa and returned with a film, "Trailing African Wild Animals." Martin Johnson approached the motion-picture department at Kodak, asking for backing for another safari. When Eastman gave them $10,000, they began tempting him to join them sometime.
Shortly after retiring from his own company in 1925 at the age of 72, Eastman took the Osa and Martin Johnson up on their offer, and once again, the Eastman mode of travel came to life. Martin Johnson wrote Eastman that he could travel as if going to London, and so he did. More than 200 small boxes of uniform size were shipped out of Kodak Park, assembled and numbered so as to end up on the appropriate native porters' heads. Once they were in the Kedong Valley of Kenya, far from civilization, Eastman rolled out the day's fare: corn meal and graham flour that had been sterilized back at Kodak Park, caviar and vintage wine served in crystal goblets on linen-spread table.
At the time, big game hunting was on the wane, and many species were already considered endangered. As it was, however, Eastman managed to have plenty of excitement without firing a shot.
While out on the hunt one day, the party encountered a rhinoceros. Eastman saw that its horns were unsuitable for trophy-taking purposes, so he decided to film it instead. As the Martin and Osa Johnson looked on, he moved within 20 feet of the beast, filming as he approached. Apparently, the camera was giving him trouble, because he failed to react at first when the rhino lowered its head and charged. He simply stood there, waiting until the animal came within 15 feet before stepping out of the way. For a moment, the rhino became more enraged and, in a second charge, came within two paces of Eastman, at which point it was brought down by a shot from one of the horrified onlookers.
A second safari in 1928 garnered Eastman several trophies for his wall, but after his brush with death, it was all an anticlimax. Inevitably, whenever he showed his rhino film to viewers back in the States, he was admonished for his foolhardiness. For once, he seemed to enjoy the reaction. To a friend he wrote: "The affair could not have been more perfect if it had been staged and was the opportunity of a lifetime."
Indeed, after a lifetime of heavily engineered adventures, George Eastman had finally experienced his Kodak moment.
George Eastman: The Final Shot
The end of a life often explains a great deal about how it was lived, and the manner of George Eastman's death is no exception.
At the age of 74, Eastman had grown noticeably thin and weak, and he had difficulty standing. Two years later, his gait had become slow and shuffling. A doctor of today would have diagnosed spinal stenosis, but even without a name to describe his condition, he knew that an invalid's life was in store for him. Having seen his mother live out her last two years in a wheelchair, he also knew well what that meant.
Normally tight-lipped about his personal affairs, Eastman had been letting slip how he felt about his circumstances. One occasion found him confessing to a friend that there wasn't much left to live for. A more vivid expression involved one of his extravagant domestic routines. He had long employed Harold Gleason, an organist, to perform for him in his own home as he ate his morning breakfast. One of Eastman's most common requests was *Marche Romaine*, from a Gounod opera, and, as his health deteriorated, he gradually came to refer to this piece as "my funeral march."
On March 14, 1932, Eastman invited some friends to witness a change of his will. After some joking and warm conversation, he asked them to leave so that he could write a note. Moments later, he shot himself once in the heart with an automatic pistol. The note found by the household staff read simply: "To my friends, My work is done--, Why wait?" When his casket was carried out of the Eastman House, the accompanying music was *Marche Romaine*.
Suicide is inevitably a puzzling act, and all the more so when carried out by an inventor, because it is so rare. Indeed, besides Eastman, only two famous American inventors have died by their own hand.
One of these was John Fitch, who in 1787 demonstrated his steamboat, the first working example of such in the world, to the attendees of the Constitutional Convention, only to be derided and scorned by the crowd. Pressing ahead, Fitch organized steamboat excursions between Philadelphia and Trenton to less than enthusiastic acclaim. The situation reached the height of absurdity when the Patent Office issued patents to both Fitch and his rival, James Rumsey, for essentially the same invention. Fitch's complaints to Thomas Jefferson, who as Secretary of State was also empowered to prosecute patents, were to no avail. On July 7, 1798, in a boardinghouse in Bardstown, Kentucky, Fitch wrote a note that lamented "Nobody will believe that poor John Fitch can do anything worthy of attention," and ended his troubles with a draught of poison.
Edwin Armstrong suffered much the same misfortunes as Fitch. The inventor of FM radio, the super-regenerative circuit and the superheterodyne -- all of which represented enormous leaps forward for radio -- Armstrong was mired for most of his life in lawsuits. The bitterest of these contests was with David Sarnoff, the mastermind behind RCA. By 1954, when it was clear that Sarnoff would win the rights to use FM radio technology, Armstrong put on an overcoat, a scarf and pair of gloves, removed the air conditioner from his 13th-floor apartment in New York City. and jumped. (Sarnoff's first reaction upon hearing the news was to say: "I did not kill Armstrong.")
George Eastman suffered some of the same problems as did these two Inventors -- most notably the crushing weight of patent battles. Like them, he ultimately lost the fight for one of his most cherished inventions for him it was transparent flexible film, the patent for which was awarded posthumously to Hannibal Goodwin. Yet for all that, Eastman went on to build a hugely successful business, which neither Fitch nor Armstrong was ever able to do.
One might forgive Eastman because he was suffering from a debilitating disease, but it is not quite enough to interpret his suicide as an exercise of his right to die (which he supported on a political level). Successful inventors, having seen the benefits of perseverance, typically do not go gentle into that good night. Thomas Edison suffered Bright's disease and a host of other illnesses in his final years, yet he plowed ahead with his characteristic dynamism right to the very end. George Westinghouse, for his part, approached death with plans to design an electric wheelchair that would help him get around. And, in fact, Eastman himself had known severe emotional pain, if not physical agony, many times during his life as he watched his loved ones die around him.
But Eastman parted company from his famous contemporaries in another respect as well. In addition to being optimists, inventors have generally found it difficult to keep their personalities in check. Their profession encourages them to brag and complain and, as often as not, to lose themselves entirely in their own enthusiasms, as Edison did when he embarked on a half-serious plan to communicate with the dead. For an inventor to appear mad almost comes with the territory.
If there is one thing that can be said about Eastman, it is that he was a rational man. Throughout his life, he sounded the same themes again and again -- adventure, happiness and control, and the greatest of these was control. The early death of his father and his family's subsequent poverty stamped him with an insatiable need for stability, which he found in bachelorhood and a financial empire and held close ever after. As far as he was concerned, there was no world beyond the one he could dominate. Even when he punctuated his labors with travel, his drive for order went with him in his compulsion to plan out every last detail of his itinerary. In this light, Eastman's career can be seen as act of self-sacrifice. With one of his cameras in hand, it became possible to capture an instant of abandon, even happiness, and so we came to possess, as part of our human heritage, images of people smiling on adventures large and small. Of course, Eastman was often caught in camera in far-off locations as well, but in the end one fact is inescapable: one must look long and hard to find a picture of George Eastman smiling. In harnessing his impulses, he gave the world an experience that he never permitted himself.
Having borrowed the word "snapshot" from a hunting term to describe a bullet fired at random, Eastman proved unable to do anything haphazardly -- certainly not hunting or even photography, both of which he approached with the same fastidiousness he brought to industrial manufacturing. It is perhaps the supreme irony of his life, then, that the last bullet he fired was no snapshot at all, but the final step in an event carefully designed to bring out the desired results. It was, in other words, simply the most efficient thing to do.
George Eastman - History
With the slogan "you press the button, we do the rest," George Eastman put the first simple camera into the hands of a world of consumers in 1888. In so doing, he made a cumbersome and complicated process easy to use and accessible to nearly everyone.
Just as Eastman had a goal to make photography "as convenient as the pencil," Kodak continues to expand the ways images touch people's daily lives.
A handwritten farewell
Finally deciding to take matters into his own hands, Eastman ended his life with a single gunshot to the heart on March 14, 1932, at the age of 77.
The handwritten note above and his death certificate (shown below) are both on display at George Eastman House museum in Rochester, New York.
Cause of death appears to read: &ldquoSuicide by shooting self in heart with a revolver while temporarily insane.&rdquo
George Eastman was cremated, and his ashes buried on the grounds of Kodak Park (now known as Eastman Business Park) in Rochester, New York &mdash on the site of the empire he created.
The Colonial Revival mansion, built between 1902 and 1905, served as George Eastmanâ€™s primary residence until his death in 1932. Today, visitors can explore the historic mansion on their own or on a guided tour, offered daily. Live music performances are offered in the mansion most Sunday afternoons throughout the year.
On the main floor, visitors enter from the museum through the Palm House and Colonnade, which also provides access to the Schuyler C. Townson Terrace Garden. Past the Colonnade, visitors enter the Dining Room and continue into the Conservatory, the center of the mansion. The Billiard Room, Library, Great Hall, and Living Room are all accessible from this large two-story room. Up the Grand Staircase on the second floor, visitors will see the restored bedroom suite of Maria Kilbourn Eastman (George Eastmanâ€™s mother), the north and south organ chambers behind latticework, the Sitting Room, exhibitions related to George Eastman and Eastman Kodak Company, and the Discovery Room, with hands-on image-making activities for kids.
The third floor, now used for museum offices, once housed Eastmanâ€™s screening room and workshop, as well as living quarters for household staff. Museum members can go behind the scenes to the third floor and the basement on the monthly Upstairs/Downstairs tours.
George Eastman - History
Great Museums: Picture Perfect: George Eastman House
Located on historic East Avenue in Rochester, New York, this special showcases the 12.5-acre museum site that was the urban estate of George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company. The Museum focuses on the 150-year history of the art, technology, and impact of photography and motion pictures — media that continue to change our perception of the world. The 1910 Colonial era house, where Eastman lived and died, offers a glimpse into the private world of this marketing genius who invented the word “Kodak” and made photographers of us all!
George Eastman (July 12, 1854 â€“ March 14, 1932) was an American innovator and entrepreneur who founded the Eastman Kodak Company and popularized the use of roll film, helping to bring photography to the mainstream. Roll film was also the basis for the invention of motion picture film in 1888 by the world’s first film-makers Eadweard Muybridge and Louis Le Prince, and a few years later by their followers LÃ©on Bouly,Thomas Edison, the LumiÃ¨re Brothers, and Georges MÃ©liÃ¨s.
He was a major philanthropist, establishing the Eastman School of Music, and schools of dentistry and medicine at the University of Rochester and in London contributing to RIT and the construction of MIT‘s second campus on the Charles River and donating to Tuskegee and Hampton universities. In addition, he provided funds for clinics in London and other European cities to serve low-income residents.
In the last few years of his life Eastman suffered with chronic pain and reduced functionality due to a spine illness. On March 14, 1932 Eastman shot himself in the heart, leaving a note which read, “To my friends: my work is done. Why wait?”
U.S. patent no. 388,850, issued to George Eastman, September 4, 1888
Eastman was born in Waterville, New York to George Washington Eastman and Maria Eastman (nÃ©e Kilbourn), the youngest child, at the 10-acre farm which his parents bought in 1849. He had two older sisters, Ellen Maria and Katie. He was largely self-educated, although he attended a private school in Rochester after the age of eight. His father had started a business school, the Eastman Commercial College in the early 1840s in Rochester, New York, described as one of the first “boomtowns” in the United States, with a rapid growth in industry. As his father’s health started deteriorating, the family gave up the farm and moved to Rochester in 1860. His father died of a brain disorder in May 1862. To survive and afford George’s schooling, his mother took in boarders.
Maria’s second daughter, Katie, had contracted polio when young and died in late 1870 when George was 16 years old. The young George left school early and started working. As George Eastman began to experience success with his photography business, he vowed to repay his mother for the hardships she had endured in raising him.
In 1884, Eastman patented the first film in roll form to prove practicable he had been tinkering at home to develop it. In 1888, he perfected the Kodak camera, the first camera designed specifically for roll film. In 1892, he established the Eastman Kodak Company, in Rochester, New York. It was one of the first firms to mass-produce standardized photography equipment. The company also manufactured the flexible transparent film, devised by Eastman in 1889, which proved vital to the subsequent development of the motion picture industry.
He started his philanthropy early, sharing the income from his business to establish educational and health institutions. Notable among his contributions were a $625,000 gift in 1901 (equivalent to $17.5 million in present day terms) to the Mechanics Institute, now Rochester Institute of Technology and a major gift in the early 1900s to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which enabled the construction of buildings on its second campus by the Charles River. MIT opened this campus in 1916.
George Eastman never married, because he carried on a long platonic relationship with Josephine Dickman, a trained singer and the wife of business associate George Dickman, and he became especially close to her after the death of his mother, Maria Eastman, in 1907. He was also an avid traveler and music lover.
His mother, Maria, was his main family for the majority of his life, and her death was particularly crushing to George. Almost pathologically concerned with decorum, he found himself unable for the first time to control his emotions in the presence of friends. “When my mother died I cried all day”, he explained later. “I could not have stopped to save my life”. Due to his mother’s hesitancy and refusal to take his gifts, George Eastman could never do enough for his mother during her lifetime. Thus, after she was gone, George opened the Eastman Theater in Rochester on September 4, 1922, among its features was a chamber-music hall dedicated to her memory: the Kilbourn Theater. And long after that, a rose cutting from her childhood home still flowered on the grounds of the Eastman House.
George Eastman, 1917
Eastman was associated with Kodak company in an administrative and an executive capacity until his death he contributed much to the development of its notable research facilities. In 1911, he founded the Eastman Trust and Savings Bank. While discouraging the formation of unions at his manufacturing plant, he established paternal systems of support for his employees.
He was one of the outstanding philanthropists of his time, donating more than $100 million to various projects in Rochester Cambridge, Massachusetts at two historically black colleges in the South and in several European cities. In 1918, he endowed the establishment of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and in 1921 a school of medicine and dentistry there.
In 1925, Eastman gave up his daily management of Kodak to become treasurer. He concentrated on philanthropic activities, to which he had already donated substantial sums. For example, he donated funds to establish the Eastman Dental Dispensary in 1916. He was one of the major philanthropists of his time, ranking only slightly behind Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and a few others, but did not seek publicity for his activities. He concentrated on institution-building and causes that could help people’s health. From 1926 until his death, Eastman donated $22,050 per year to the American Eugenics Society.
George Eastman donated Â£200,000 in 1926 to fund a dental clinic in London, UK after being approached by the Chairman of the Royal Free Hospital, Lord Riddell. This was in addition to donations of Â£50,000 each from Lord Riddell and the Royal Free honorary treasurer. On 20 November 1931, the Eastman Dental Clinic opened in front of Neville Chamberlain and the American Ambassador. The clinic was incorporated into the Royal Free Hospital and was committed to providing dental care for disadvantaged children from central London.
Infirmity and Suicide
In his final two years Eastman was in intense pain caused by a disorder affecting his spine. He had trouble standing, and his walk became a slow shuffle. Today it might be diagnosed as a form of degenerative disease such as disc herniations from trauma or age causing either painful nerve root compressions, or perhaps a type of lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal caused by calcification in the vertebrae. Since his mother suffered the final 2 years of her life in a wheelchair, she also may have had a spine condition but that is unknownâ€”only her uterine cancer and successful surgery is documented in her health history. If she did have a musculoskeletal disorder, perhaps George Eastman’s spine condition may have been due to a congenital disease, such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, degenerative disc disease, or a variant of Ehlers-Danlos collagen disorderâ€”conditions known to be inheritable but usually presenting earlier in age. Eastman grew increasingly depressed due to his pain, reduced ability to function, and also since he witnessed his mother’s suffering from pain. On March 14, 1932, Eastman committed suicide with a single gunshot through the heart, leaving a note which read:
“To my friends, My work is done – Why wait?”
His funeral was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Rochester he was buried on the grounds of the company he founded at Kodak Park in Rochester, New York.
A First Day Cover Honoring George Eastman 1954.
During his lifetime Eastman donated $100 million to various organizations but most of the money went to the University of Rochester and to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (under the alias “Mr. Smith”). The Rochester Institute of Technology has a building dedicated to Eastman, in recognition of his support and substantial donations. In recognition of his donation to MIT, the university installed a plaque of Eastman (students rub their noses on the plaque for good luck.) Eastman also made substantial gifts to the Tuskegee Institute and the Hampton Institute. Upon his death, his entire estate went to the University of Rochester, where his name can be found on the Eastman Quadrangle of the River Campus. The auditorium at Mississippi State Universities Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering is named for Eastman in recognition of his inspiration to Swalm.
His former home at 900 East Avenue in Rochester, New York was opened as the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in 1949. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1954, the 100th anniversary of his birth, Eastman was honored with a postage stamp from the United States Post Office. In the fall of 2009, a statue of Eastman was erected on the Eastman Quad of the University of Rochester.
In 1915, Eastman founded a bureau of municipal research in Rochester “to get things done for the community” and to serve as an “independent, non-partisan agency for keeping citizens informed”. Called the Center for Governmental Research, the agency continues to carry out that mission.
Eastman had a very astute business sense. He focused his company on making film when competition heated up in the camera industry. By providing quality and affordable film to every camera manufacturer, Kodak managed to turn its competitors into de facto business partners.
In 1926, George Eastman was approached by Lord Riddell, the Chairman of Royal Free Hospital, to fund a dental clinic in London. He agreed to give Â£200,000, which was matched by Â£50,000 each from Lord Riddell and Sir Albert Levy, the Royal Free’s honorary treasurer. The Eastman Dental Clinic was opened on November 20, 1931, by the American Ambassador in the presence of Neville Chamberlain. The building, which resembled the Rochester Dispensary, was totally integrated into the Royal Free Hospital and included three wards for oral, otolaryngology and cleft lip and palate surgery. It was dedicated to providing dental care for children from the poor districts of central London. In a similar manner, Eastman went on to establish dental clinics in Rome,Paris, Brussels, and Stockholm.
George Eastman - History
Eastman believed that a brand name should have no dictionary definition so that it was associated with the product alone. He coined the term Kodak because he thought the word was easy to remember and difficult to misspell.
Photos: Courtesy George Eastman House
A junior bookkeeper innovated processes and equipment to simplify photography, introduced the concept of the "snapshot," and created a way for millions of consumer-photographers to document their lives and preserve memories.
Losses Early in Life
George Eastman was born on July 12, 1854, in Waterville, New York. He lost his father when he was eight, and was raised by his mother, Maria. His older sister, Katie, died of polio in 1870, while George was still a teenager. If anyone could capitalize on a tool like photography -- which could document loved ones' likenesses for all time -- it would be someone like Eastman.
Pupil and Inventor
Invented in the 1830s, photography was a well-established professional occupation by the 1870s, but it was not a hobby for the masses. It required a knowledge of chemistry, mastery of cumbersome equipment, and an interest in laborious wet-plate processes. Eastman, in his early twenties, became the pupil of two Rochester, New York, amateur photographers, George Monroe and George Selden. He experimented in dry-plate photography, and developed a formula for gelatin-based paper film and a machine for coating dry plates. He went into business selling dry plates in April 1880, and soon resigned from his bookkeeping position at a local bank to focus on his fledgling company.
In 1885, with camera inventor William Hall Walker, Eastman patented the Eastman-Walker Roll Holder, which allowed photographers to advance multiple exposures of paper film through a camera, rather than handle individual single-shot plates. The roll holder would define the basic technology of cameras until the introduction of digital photography. It also became the basis for the first mass-produced Kodak camera, initially known as the "roll holder breast camera," which retailed for $25 and started a photography craze. The term "Kodak" was coined by Eastman himself in 1887. In 1889, Eastman hired chemist Henry Reichenbach, who developed a transparent, flexible film which could be cut into strips and inserted into cameras. Thomas Edison would order the film to use in the motion-picture camera he was developing -- and it would soon become the centerpiece of the Eastman empire.
Photography for the Masses
During the 1890s, Eastman expanded his business, buying patents and investing in research and development. Faster films and smaller cameras meant photography could produce more spontaneous pictures -- "snapshots." In 1900, he introduced the "Brownie" camera, which sold for $1 and was a bullseye in the mass market. Eastman's insight was that his chemists could do the "photo finishing," but anyone could take pictures with a simple camera like the Brownie. Eastman had hit on a memorable slogan: You press the button, we do the rest." His business grew rapidly, helped by jingles and ads positioning the brand as an essential tool for preserving memories. A 1902 ad lectured, "A vacation without a Kodak is a vacation wasted." A blizzard of profits enabled Eastman to build a 50-room mansion in Rochester.
Eastman continued to improve photography, introducing innovations including a process for color photography which he called Kodachrome. A generous philanthropist, Eastman gave away more than $100 million to charities, mostly in Rochester, during his lifetime. As he aged, he had increasing difficulty standing and walking. He could foresee living out his last years as his mother had, an incapacitated invalid. Facing the prospect of life in a wheelchair, he took his own life with an automatic pistol on March 14, 1932. His suicide note read, "To my friends. My work is done --, Why wait?"
Growth and new developments
Eastman expected that photography would soon become more popular, and in 1892 he established the Eastman Kodak
Daylight-loading film and cameras soon made it unnecessary to return the cameras to the factory. Eastman's old slogan changed to "You press the button, we do the rest, or you can do it yourself." A pocket Kodak was marketed in 1897, a folding Kodak in 1898, noncurling film in 1903, and color film in 1928. Eastman film was used in Thomas Edison's (1847) motion pictures Edison's incandescent (glowing with intense heat) bulb was used by Eastman and by photographers specializing in "portraits (photographs of people) taken by electric light."
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George Eastman was a renowned American inventor, businessman and founder of the Eastman Kodak company. He was born in 1854 in New York to George and Maria Eastman. His father died in 1862, when Eastman was 8 years old and one of his sisters died when he was 16. As a result, he felt the burden of responsibility and dropped out of school at an early age to begin working in order to support his mother financially. He was mostly self educated, and started off his career with odd jobs at insurance companies and banks.
At the age of 24, Eastman planned a trip to Santo Domingo when his colleague advised him to document the trip. The photography equipment however, was bulky and expensive. Eastman began to think of ways to make photography more manageable. He cancelled his trip, bought some photography equipment and began to research extensively on alternative methods of photography. He collaborated with amateur photographers and other inventors and by 1880, he had developed a gelatin based paper film. At this point he left his job and founded a small photography company. In 1885 he obtained a patent for a “roll holding device” that he had invented together with another inventor named William Hall Walker. Together the two of them had invented a much smaller and cheaper camera.
Eastman named his company “Kodak” (later changing it to “Eastman Kodak”) and launched the first Kodak camera in 1888. It was a compact box shaped device which could take 100 pictures and cost only $25. He coined the slogan “You press the button, we do the rest” in order to promote his products. His company also developed flexible film that could easily be inserted into cameras. This was a huge success and was even adapted by Thomas Edison for use in motion pictures. In the 1890’s the company suffered some financial setbacks due to the depression but recovered again by 1900 with the launch of the Brownie Camera for the price of $1 which was a huge success. Eastman also developed an unbreakable glass lens for use in gas masks and a special camera for taking pictures from planes, which was used in World War I.
Gerorge Eastman was never married, and had a close platonic friendship with his friend George Dickman’s wife named Josephine Dickman. He was very close to his mother and credited all his success and fortune to her as she had dedicated her entire life to helping him prosper. When Eastman’s mother died, he admitted to having cried for days at her loss. He established the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York and named the chamber music hall “Kilbourn Theatre” in her honor (Kilbourn was his mother’s maiden name).
Eastman was a great philanthropist and gave away huge chunks of his fortune to needy and deserving people. During his lifetime, he is thought to have given around $100 million to universities, hospitals, dental clinics and research facilities. He sometimes used the alias “Mr. Smith” when making donations as he never wished for publicity and fame. Some of the notable organizations he donated to were MIT, Rochester University and the Royal free Hospital. He established several charitable organizations of his own initiative such as Eastman Dental Clinics in London, Rome, Paris, Brussels and Stockholm.
In 1932, George Eastman committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart. The cause of this was a painful and degenerative spine disease which made it difficult for him to function normally. He left a suicide note which read “My work is done – why wait?”. Eastman’s legacy lives on and he will always be remembered and appreciated for his contribution to widespread commercial and personal photography. His net worth at the time of his death was US $95 million. After his death, his house in Rochester was converted into the “George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film“.