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The Kodak Magazine

The Kodak Magazine, London, Vol 10 Number 5, May 1932

GEORGE EASTMAN THE MAN AND HIS WORK

THE STORY OF ONE OF THE OUTSTANDING PERSONALITIES OF HIS GENERATION. GEORGE EASTMAN WAS THE CREATOR OF AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY AND BUILDER OF A GREAT BUSINESS ORGANISATION, AN INVENTIVE GENIUS, A PHILANTHROPIST WHOSE GENEROSITY ENRICHED THE WORLD, A LOVER OF THE ARTS, AND ABOVE ALL A MAN WHOSE COURAGE AND PERSONALITY WON THE LOVE AND RESPECT OF ALL THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH HIM.


GEORGE EASTMAN'S last message was addressed, to "his friends." Who were they? Rather a small circle, considering his eminence, if you take the word literally.

But in the wider sense, not only all who are likely to read these words, but all the millions whom he benefited by his brilliant inventions and developments and by his unsurpassed philanthropy.

His work can be summed up in the four words— "he made film photography." But it is impossible to visualise quickly or describe in less than a large volume all that those four words mean.

When George Eastman, at the age of 23, took up photography as a hobby in the year 1877, photography was a complicated craft, practised by a small body of professionals and scientific amateurs. When, on March 14th, 1932, George Eastman died at the age of 77, he left photography, including cinematography, a world power, a main feature of modern civilization. This is the photographic age. It would hardly be too much to say that it was George Eastman who made it so.


His Start

From the very first he seems to have foreseen the vast possibilities. The year that he took up photography was also the year in which the first dry plate was marketed in England. Two years later Eastman was in England selling a machine for coating dry plates of his own invention.

In 1880 he started his own dry-plate business, and while working night and day at this and facing nerve-racking crises due to the unreliability of the early processes and raw materials, he conceived and began to carry out his great idea of supplying the world with a really practical flexible base on which to coat photographic emulsions. He succeeded in 1885, with his first paper film negative, which made possible, in 1888, the first "Kodak."

The No. 1 Kodak, as it was called, was loaded by the makers with a spool for one hundred pictures,


all of which had to be exposed before the camera was returned to be unloaded and the paper film developed, oiled to make it transparent, and printed by experts Yet the famous slogan "You press the button, We do! the rest," swept the world.

His Greatest Achievement

Continuing his experiments, with the help of a clever young chemist, Eastman finally achieved his transparent flexible base, the photographic film, by the method of dissolving gun-cotton in wood alcohol. That was in 1889, the year of the birth of film photography. A distinguished body of experimenters in motion pictures, in particular Thomas Alva Edison, hailed the new product as the thing for which they had been waiting. By 1896 the modern cinematograph was launched on the world.

Eastman surrounded himself with the finest technical experts and appliances and the subsequent history of his enterprises is that of invention after invention, each making photography more simple, more attractive, more certain and less expensive,

The Folding Kodak (in 1889), daylight loading film (1891), daylight developing (1902), non-curling film (1904)—these were only a few of the best-known developments achieved under his guidance. Concurrently, the Kodak organisation was extended to cover the whole world.

Some years ago, warned that he could no longer expect good health, Eastman handed over the direction of his world organisation to successors appointed by himself. His work has been continued since then with the same skill and success on his own lines.

His Character

George Eastman avoided personal publicity. He seldom talked about himself and many of his fabulous gifts were made anonymously.

Only son of the head of a commercial college in Rochester, N.Y., Eastman was of English ancestry. In 1868 he went to work at three dollars a week and


Left—A Snapshot taken on the Rock of Gibraltar during a Mediterranean cruise in 1889 by Mr. Furley Lewis, F.R.P.S., with a No. 1 "Kodak," the first roll film camera. This picture was taken on Mr. Eastman's original paper film which had to be oiled before the print could be made


Right—Another of Mr. Furley

Lewis' early pictures taken on

the first celluloid film introduced

by Mr. Eastman in I890


at the end of the first year he had saved 34 dollars.

Throughout his life he displayed two characteristics which never left him : commercial honesty and technical integrity. He would never put out work which did not satisfy him, even if it would bring immediate profit and when, one disastrous year (1881), owing to a fault which he could not discover, quality went out of his plates, he took back from the distributors every unsold plate and replaced it.

Eastman was always ready to purchase at whatever price was necessary the services and copyrights which he deemed essential to his plans. Unbiassed, he chose his closest colleagues regardless of nationality or class ; not a few went to him from Britain, including the brilliant British chemist, Dr. Kenneth Mees, now head of the Eastman Laboratories at Rochester, the largest in the world, to obtain whose services he purchased the old established firm of Wratten & Wainwright Limited, of Croydon.

He was a model employer, one of the first to realise the wisdom of paying good wages ; he cared for his staffs in the

xmost comprehensive way, including profit-sharing, share gifts, pension schemes, medical attention and life insurance.

After he had made his great fortune lie showed himself in a new character as a patron of education and the , arts, particularly music. Of his benefactions, amounting to over £15,000,00.' the majority were for educational purposes. Two of his best known and most recent gifts were a £200,000 Dental Clinic to London, and an Anglo American visiting Professorship at Oxford.

Few men have ever worked harder with less misdirected energy than George Eastman, few men have been so uniformly successful and so universally respected, few men have made better use of the powers they possessed and of the power they attained. His death, on March 14th. 1932, at the age of 77 was the result of ill-health and nothing else. There is every reason to believe that he died in the possession of that which he himself often declared to be one of the secrets of a happy life - a quiet mind.


The first Folding "Kodak" introduced in 1890


The first "Kodak", 1888, with its inside removed showing the roll of film for a hundred exposures


The latest "Kodak" for the 1932

Season,

SIX - 20 "Kodak",

self erecting, neat, compact, modern,

efficient.


The Kodak Magazine, London, Vol 10 Number 10, October 1932


A Box Brownie on the Spot
 

MR. J.ALLAN RENNIE'S No. 2 "BROWNIE" RECORDS INCIDENTS OF THE STRANDING OF THE CHANNEL ISLANDS STEAMER "ST. PATRICK" OFF CORBIERE ON KODAK FILM, AND SUPPLIES THE FIRST NEWS PICTURES TO FLEET STREET


It was about 6 p.m. when I was looking over the side of the boat about midship and suddenly noticed that the appearance of the water was unusual, seeming shallow and swirling around. Suddenly there was a loud grinding, scrunching sound, which shook the boat and sent a thrill of apprehension through the passengers. We knew that the St. Patrick had struck the rocks and was moving slowly off.

Our position was about 11- miles from Corbiere Lighthouse and soon distress rockets were sent up. Our captain wirelessed immediately the captain of the St. Julien anchored off the Platte Fougere, Guernsey, requesting him to stand by. The St. Julien wirelessed the tug Duke of Normandy in St. Helier harbour and the news was also conveyed to Captain Large of the Isle of Sark, also in St. Helier harbour. This latter boat put out to the scene of the accident as soon as possible, and proceeded to take the women, children and luggage on board.

The men had to climb down a rope ladder into the tug and the mails were also transferred to the tug. Rescue efforts were hampered by the fog descending again and the Duke of Normandy made slow progress, but eventually reached St. Helier harbour, where thousands of people had congregated to give us a rousing cheer when we landed, just before midnight.

 



   



The "St. Patrick" being towed into St. Helier Harbour, after refloating, for repairs

Life-saving jackets were issued to everyone of the 314 passengers on board. Our appearance was certainly remarkable and it was this that prompted me to take some snapshots of my fellow-passengers with my No. 2 "Brownie." When it is remembered that these pictures were taken at evening time and the light was considerably dulled by the fog, the pictures are very satisfactory.

My photographs were developed at once and prints were sent by the afternoon boat on the following day to London. These were published in several daily papers and also copies of the photographs were on sale the same evening in St. Helier.


Passengers aboard the stranded "St. Patrick," as she lay on the rocks off Corbiere, wearing the life-saving jackets issued to them by the crew



Some interesting articles from the Kodak Magazine