Little Bits of History

Instant Camera

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 26, 2010

Polaroid Land Camera, Model 95

November 26, 1948: The first instant camera, the Polaroid Land Model 95, sells for $89.75 ( about $865.00 in 2009 USD) at the Boston, Massachusetts Jordan Marsh department store. The camera produced a 3.25 by 4.25 inch dry print. These early cameras used roll film; in 1963 peel-apart pack film came into use.

The term “photography” was first used in 1839 by John F.W. Herschel, combing the Greek “photo” for light and “graph” for to draw. In the summer of 1827 Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took eight hours to produce the first lasting photographic image. By 1839 Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre was producing lasting pictures in less than thirty minutes. Daguerreotypes could not be copied, the pictures were one of a kind.

William Henry Talbot invented the negative to positive process in 1841, making it possible to create copies of pictures. Frederick Scott Archer came up with a Collodon process in 1851 that took the time down to 3 seconds for creating a picture. But the negative needed immediate developing. So in 1871, the next step was taken by Richard Leach Maddox and development of the film could be delayed. Celluloid film was brought to market in 1898 by Hannibal Goodwin and mass produced Kodak Brownie cameras came on the scene in 1900. Kodacolor film was introduced by Kodak in 1941.

Polaroid brought the largest patent lawsuit against Kodak on April 26, 1976 citing several patent infringements. Polaroid held many of the patents for the instant photography method. After five years of pre-trial preparation and a 75 day trail, Kodak was found to be in violation concerning 12 patents held by Polaroid. Kodak was forced to remove its camera from the market and could no longer make film for existing cameras. They not only lost the case, but compensated Kodak Instant Camera owners whose cameras were now useless without the film.

“Photograph:  a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.” – Ambrose Bierce

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” – Ansel Adams

“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” – Eudora Welty

“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” – Lewis Hine

Also on this day, in 1917 the National Hockey League was founded.

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