Kodak Camera advertisement appeared in the first issue of The
Photographic Herald and Amateur Sportsman, November, 1889.
The slogan "You press the button, we do the rest" summed up
George Eastman's ground breaking snapshot camera system.
Eastman introduced his KodakTM camera in 1888 and revolutionized
popular photography. The Kodak camera was small, hand held, inexpensive
and, for the first time, made especially to hold a roll of flexible
film. Prior to this, light sensitive chemicals captured the black-and-white
negative images on pieces of glass. Large cameras were used to
hold the photographic plates and a tripod was needed for support.
ordinary Americans, photography consisted of posed portraits in
a professional photographer's studio. The Kodak camera allowed
the average person to take photographs of their families, their
homes, their surroundings. It inaugurated the snapshot era of
do-it-yourself photography. Awarded a medal at the Photographers'
Annual Convention as the photographic invention of 1888, thousands
of $25.00 Kodak cameras sold during the first year.
1889 celluloid, a type of plastic, replaced the paper of the first
flexible film base. Another unique feature for the time was that
the amateur photographer returned the unopened camera to the Rochester,
New York, factory. There the film negatives were processed and
the 2 1/2 inch circular images were printed on paper and mounted
on cardboard. The camera was then re-loaded with an unexposed
roll of flexible film and returned to the customer with the processed
photographs and negatives. This cost $10.00 and produced 100 snapshots.
This activity became so popular that the term "Kodaking" soon
meant a fun outing to take snapshots.
Eastman eventually changed the name of his company to Eastman
Kodak so popular did his Kodak snapshot camera and later models
like the Brownie, become.
The #1 Kodak. On display in Henry Ford Museum.
Photograph and verso of man in a rocking chair taken with
first Kodak camera. ID 81.1.40. Click on image to zoom