Everyone knows – Eastman means Kodak, the first mass market camera and film.
How come that an insignificant bank clerk of Rochester, USA, became a benefactor for the amateur mankind and invented a camera, which any technically challenged person could use? Out of necessity – the English-speaking world says necessity is the mother of invention for a reason. As you remember, the photography was invented long before the birth of Eastman but forty years later everyone who wanted to take photos of sights on holidays had to hire a horse in the first place. Do the math yourself – a camera the size of a box, a tripod, lenses, different tools to put the emulsion onto them and a tent where this process had to take place...
The future titan of the photographic business first changed the wet plate process with the dry one with no loss in quality and then ditched the lens altogether. The light-sensitive coating was put onto the paper, which was then rolled. By the way, the celluloid so invented put the lid on.
Figuratively minded technology historians now compare Eastman and Maxim, the one who invented a machine gun. The comparison is appropriate – Hiram Maxim loaded his machine gun with a cartridge belt, while Eastman loaded (a machine gun like word) his patented camera with a roll film. The device did not fit in the pocket. However, it did not resemble a chest either. And it took photos at machine gun speed.
Eastman named its creation Kodak, as it starts and ends with his favorite letter “K,” is easy to pronounce in all languages and does not mean anything in any of them. And sounds like a camera shutter click.
Having skimmed the cream off the huge market, Eastman shared his money generously, as among the organizations sponsored by the renowned philanthropist were a theater and a symphonic orchestra and universities, including the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He left this life with a sense of accomplishment and by choice, “My work is done – Why wait? ” he wrote to his friends and shot himself through the heart.