Kodak, Eastman, Twenty Five Dollars discussed on The Norman Goldman Show
One hundred years Kodak was the picture of success and innovation in the photography arena but in nineteen seventy five they developed a new technology that they feared would disrupt their profits the digital camera so they kept it under exposed in out of sight sticking to what looks good on paper but by the time they decided to really focus on this part of their company it was too late let's see what developed this is Kodak on the brink. hi everyone I'm John the Strickland and I'm aerial cast is the brink and this episode is another listener suggestion yes suggested by Brianna it is Kodak Brianna specifically wanted us to talk about how Kodak seemingly missed a big opportunity by jumping on the digital camera nine and jumping on the digital camera bandwagon but starting it yes and we're going to talk about that and how that played a part perhaps you could argue a major part in Kodak's financial struggles I think that's debatable but we'll get to the reason why yeah there's actually as we learned in life often there's more than one reason why things don't go well but this is what a lot of people point to yeah we're going to talk about it first of all I like that you have a question here just as let's talk about this in general do you own a camera and my answer to that is yeah I actually own a couple of actual cameras not just my phone also the camper fancy camera I have the case handed the camera that's pretty super fancy DSLR and I like it a lot. and I got that with the reward points off a credit card. nice how you do you have a camera I do I have a really nice camera that I inherited from my mother it's got a bunch of different lenses and filters and things like that I also have a go pro nice well I think it's an off brand to go pro but it does the same thing yeah I have a I have a go pro that was subjected to liquid nitrogen and once upon a time as part of a C. E. S. demonstration and then I want to go pro and it still works just fine that's that footage I think it's on the net somewhere let's talk about Kodak it we're gonna give a very brief overview of the origins of the company which is fascinating but it is far too long and detailed yeah to hear so Kodak which is actually Eastman Kodak company was started by George Eastman who dropped out of school when he was fourteen to support his mom and two sisters he worked at insurance companies in later thanks and this is like in the middle of the nineteenth century not long after the end of the civil war began kind of a an idea of the time we're talking about and I love how he got interested in photography because it wasn't through like some official job or anything it was because he was planning to go on vacation any thought I sure would like to take some holiday photos after ten years of working real hard he was like I need to treat myself treat yourself and his co workers said Hey take some pictures and so he bought a giant wet plate camera which is huge and heavy and has fifty thousand accessories you have to bring with it to be able to take the photos and process the photos quickly and all this other stuff and you know way back in the days shutter speed was super slow you need a lot of light now if anything moved in it was all blurry so photography was a very young art at the state yes and he didn't take a vacation but. but he did get all that information he did and he really enjoyed photography throughout his exploration of photography he really believed that this entire tedious process could be better right I was standing around waiting for your picture to take having the lay right so he actually started to experiment with alternatives to the wet plate method and he came up with the dry plate method. so he goes and develops a approach the dry plate formula and he even applies for a patent yeah he gets it in eighteen seventy nine. in eighteen eighty he says I've got all this good stuff so I'm gonna make a business out of it and he leased a building in New York he button engine to power the production of his dry plates for a hundred and twenty five dollars it was actually a much more powerful engine that he needed but he's like it that way I can scale up and he started selling and manufacturing his dry plates and it was really successful and he got an investor very quickly Henry a strong. and a year later they officially formed the easement dry plate company and and in case you're wondering what's the big deal of dry plate verses what played with wet plate as he took the the photo you had to start developing it thank you you didn't have any time. Eastman's approach was well the strike plate you can take the photo and you can go and develop the photograph later on on your time so it wasn't like this super a pressing need as soon as you click the shutter you actually have more time so that's why it was one of the the methods that that seemed advantageous over the pre existing art so easement quit his job at the bank and devote his full efforts to his new role at the Eastman dry plate company yes not only running the company but still continuing to try to improve the photography process to make it more accessible to the everyman yeah but this is around the time that they hit their very first bring moment. it's a minor brink mom I mean it could have been the end of the company is just this was before the company had gathered enough momentum for it to a bit like one would have known that we wouldn't be talking about the Eastman company and in this day and age because it hadn't reached the level of notoriety the Kodak what yeah so what happened was they had made a bunch of these try plates and sold them and then they went bad in the buyer stance yeah and they use all of the money they had to make it right because they they figured reputation was more important than profit and that's something he's been actually held to write they recognized accountability was an important concept that they wanted to make sure you know their customers were aware that Hey you know we consider the quality of our products to be of the utmost importance and if we fall short of that then we have to make good on it yeah but this little for able actually lead to a revelation that I think is what started and I guess most people would think started the modern photography era because he's been looked at these plates going bad and said you know what it would be cheaper and more convenient and lighter than glass if we made film on paper rolls right so instead of using these these heavy glass plates which obviously also that's a risk you know if you're shipping them and things go wrong that you've got a bunch of cracked plate switching the paper made a lot of sense in multiple ways the only problem was he had to figure out how to make it work yeah it was like that was immediately an option like silly me why don't we just use paper is because no one had developed that yet to use a pun unintentionally saw John that was that I had said it was unintentional but they worked on that you know they dedicated their research and development toward that and they were able to actually solve that problem and to create this paper phone yeah in they came out with paper film in eighteen eighty three and they started advertising it two years later and it took off because it worked in most of these dry plate cameras already it was easy to fit. in there and make it work and again way lighter than the glass plates so it made actually photography a lot easier in general to at least as far as holding a camera to wherever you're going to take a picture yeah yeah and in between the time that he announced these paper film roles and he started advertising the product he got fourteen shareholders that was in eighteen eighty four and two they changed their name to the east men try plate and fill my company because now they're selling film yeah and in eighteen eighty eight we finally get the name Kodak it wasn't for the company it was for a camera yes they also expanded their advertising reach to the general public because now you've got this Kodak camera it's affordable issue for the time is twenty five dollars which you know pretty expensive in eighteen eighty eight but still within the realm of some people's budget yes not no longer just a either professional or a wealthy eccentric as was a wealthy hobby etcetera the camera was light weight it could be carried it took a hundred photos and to process imprint and put new film in your camera was ten dollars so so a little less than half the price of the camera but you're not buying a new camera really film and photo paper where is the big ticket items that made profit yeah we're gonna touch on that again in fact that plays a very important role in our discussion a little bit later on yeah no that's that's a a bit of a preview previous I do like the slogan for the first Kodak camera it was you press the button we do the rest yeah I'm totally down with that I like that it it was certainly a very effective one and then in eighteen eighty nine that would change the name again when they constant in Kodak's past was its name changes yes and it became the Eastman company and then they started to to market their transparent film which was also something that could be used in motion picture cameras yes so when we say paper film before we really meant that they were coding a type of paper yeah with with less. this photo reactive chemicals yes yes and it wasn't as good as it could be it took okay pictures but they weren't super clear and and this new transparent film improved to the picture quality so and it also lasted header yeah for now or in the birth.