Was there ever a company that has had more impact on the American family than Eastman Kodak? The slides, photos, and movie film that contain the images of our past were most likely processed by this one company. Some of our most vivid memories became such because they were chosen by our parents to be our “Kodak Moments.” Here are some interesting facts taken from the Internet regarding the most ubiquitous brand in photo and film history:
1. Kodak has nine Academy Awards, more commonly known as Oscars. The most recent was received in 2008 for the development of photographic emulsion technologies.
2. Kodak founder, American inventor George Eastman, patented a way of storing film in rolls in 1884, but it wasn’t until four years later that he had perfected the first camera to take advantage of his invention.
3. The name Kodak is meaningless and was chosen because it was impossible to mispronounce and dissimilar to any existing words.
4. George Eastman said that K was his favorite letter and that he had wanted to incorporate it into his company’s name. He said: “A trademark should be short. It must mean nothing.”
5. The film used on NASA’s Apollo 11 moon missions was manufactured by Kodak. Each double-perforated 70mm roll could capture 160 color pictures or 200 black and white images.
6. Kodak’s engineers were issued 19,576 US patents between 1900 and 1999. Some 4,478 of these were awarded between 1995 and 1999.
7. Kodak was the first company to build a working digital camera. An engineer named Steven Sasson created the 3.6kg device which stored images on cassette tape, had a 0.01mp resolution and took 23 seconds to expose each image.
8. The company founded its research labs in 1912, which made it one of the US’s first industrial research laboratories.
9. Kodak passed up the chance to become the official film sponsor of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Japanese competitor Fuji won the bid, giving it a foothold in the US market.
10. In 1995 Kodak filed a petition with the WTO arguing that unfair practices by Fuji had kept it from gaining ground in the Japanese market. Three years later the WTO published a “sweeping rejection of Kodak’s complaints”.
11. Kodak developed aerial cameras and trained US Signal Corps photographers during World War I.
12. Steve McCurry used Kodachrome film for his 1984 portrait of Sharbat Gula, the ‘Afghan Girl’, for the National Geographic magazine.
13. In 1895 the Pocket Kodak was launched at a price of just $5. It’s small size meant it could be carried in a coat pocket.
14. Apple launched a digital camera in 1994, the QuickTake. It was actually designed by Kodak and had been released in Japan months before under its own brand name.
15. In NASA’s 1997 Mars Surface Rover mission, Kodak image sensors were used to capture close-up images of the red planet.
16. In 2005 Kodak unveiled the EasyShare-One digital camera which was equipped with Wi-Fi and allowed photographers to email pictures.
17. In 1976 Kodak had a 90pc market share for photographic film and an 85pc share of camera sales in the US.
18. Kodak researchers invented OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) technology, which is being used to power the next generation of ultra-thin televisions, in 1987.
19. Kodak designed the optics for the Chandra X-ray space telescope in 1999.
20. in 2005 Kodak bought an Israeli company called OREX Computed Radiography which developed a technology for taking digital x-rays.
21. The first Kodak camera launched in 1888 with the slogan: “You press the button, we do the rest.” It cost $25 and came with enough film for 100 pictures.
22. Kodachrome film was used by Walton Sound and Film Services during the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.
23. Kodachrome was invented by professional musicians Leopold Godowsky and Leopold Mannes, leading to comments that it was “made by God and Man”.
24. Images shot on Kodachrome can be safely stored for decades undeveloped and still retain accurate colours.
25. A 35mm Kodachrome transparency can record the equivalent of 20 megapixels in digital image terms.
26. Paul Simon wrote a song, Kodachrome, about the film. It made number 9 in the US charts, just ahead of Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando.
27. Kodak scientists invented the photoresist, which is now used to manufacture integrated circuits.
28. Dorothea Lange used Kodak film to capture her famous ‘Migrant Mother’ photograph in 1936.
29. Prior to starting Kodak, George Eastman invented an emulsion-coating machine in 1879 that allowed him to mass-produce photographic dry plates. Two years later he formed a partnership with a family friend, quit his job as a bank clerk and set up in business.
30. The Eastman Savings and Loan Association was set up to help Kodak employees buy a home. It remained part of the company until it was split-off as a credit union in 1994.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio www.homevideostudio.com/mtd specialize in the preservation of Kodak Moments using digital technology. Located in Mount Dora FL, they can be reached at 352-735-8550