Today in History (1854): George Eastman is born

George Eastman’s Legacy is indisputable. It is through his vision that we are all able to indulge in photography, even to this day.

Photo via Wikipedia

Now who is George Eastman, you might ask. Well, he’s none other than the founder of Eastman Kodak Company, later known simply as Kodak. He is the man we have to thank for inventing the film roll, making it possible for all of us to indulge in analogue photography.

On this same day in 1854, he was born to George Washington Eastman and Maria Eastman in Waterville, New York. The younger George was born and raised in a 10-acre farm with his two older sisters.

The elder Eastman founded the Eastman Commercial College in Rochester in the early 1840’s. As his health began to decline, the family decided to leave the farm and relocate to Rochester in 1860. Unfortunately, Mr. Eastman died of a brain disorder only two years after.

His wife, maria, accepted boarders just to be able to fund their son’s education. By the time the younger George was 16 however, he had already left school and started working.

George Eastman fiddled with the idea of placing film in a roll, and successfully gave flesh and bone to this idea. In 1884, he patented the first film roll, proving that the technology could work. Four years after, in 1888, he completed the Kodak camera, the first camera specifically made to use with roll film.

Photo via Wikipedia

In 1892, he founded the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester. The company, better known as Kodak, is the first to mass-produce standard quality photography equipment for the benefit of consumers.

Photo via patentplaques

Kodak grew and became increasingly successful, proving that Eastman was successful not only as an innovator, but as a businessman as well. He became an avid philanthropist, sharing his fortune by supporting health and scholastic endeavors through building educational institutions and donating to clinics and hospitals in low-income cities.

George Eastman suffered from a spinal disorder later in life, which greatly affected his bodily function. His physical pain and limited movement drove him to utter depression. With a single gunshot to the heart, he ended his suffering, leaving a suicide note that read, “To my friends: my work is done. Why wait?”

George Eastman’s Legacy is indisputable. It is through his vision that we are all able to indulge in photography, even to this day.

Incidentally, we are also celebrating Kodak Film Photography Day in conjunction with George Eastman’s birthday. Let’s celebrate with our film cameras and click away!

Information for this article was sourced from Wikipedia.

Like this article? Check out more stories from our Today in History and Throwback Thursday series.

written by jillytanrad on 2013-07-12 in #lifestyle

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