George Eastman - História

George Eastman - História


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George Eastman

1854- 1932

Inventor americano

George Eastman nasceu em 12 de julho de 1854, em Waterville NY. Eastman deixou a escola aos 15 anos para ajudar no sustento de sua família depois que seu pai morreu. Ele começou a trabalhar no ramo fotográfico. Ele fundou a empresa Kodakl em 1884. O inventor americano George Eastman apresentou sua câmera Kodak No. 1 em 1887, após ter aperfeiçoado o filme fotográfico de chapa seca em 1880.

Ele levou a fotografia para as massas com suas câmeras relativamente baratas, incluindo a Brownie lançada em 1904 e com preço de apenas US $ 1.

Grande parte da fortuna de Eastman foi doada a instituições de ensino superior, especialmente o Instituto de Tecnologia de Massachusetts. Eastman sentiu fortes dores durante os últimos dois anos de sua vida e cometeu suicídio deixando para trás um bilhete que dizia: "meu trabalho está feito, por que esperar".


Experiência Americana

George Eastman nasceu em 12 de julho de 1854, em Waterville, Nova York. Seu pai, George Washington Eastman, dirigia uma escola de negócios onde lecionava contabilidade e caligrafia, mas teve que trabalhar em um segundo emprego vendendo árvores frutíferas e rosas, o que o forçou a dividir seu tempo entre Waterville e Rochester, em Nova York. O jovem George Eastman foi, portanto, criado principalmente por sua mãe, Maria (Kilbourn) Eastman, desde muito jovem, e inteiramente por ela depois que seu pai morreu em 1862. Em 1870, sua irmã mais velha Katie, que sofria de poliomielite, também morreu , deixando a casa de Eastman permanentemente marcada pelo infortúnio.

Aos 15 anos, a família desde que se mudou para Rochester, Eastman largou a escola e começou a trabalhar como office boy para ajudar no sustento de sua família. Em 1875, ele se tornou um contador júnior no Rochester Savings Bank. Ao poupar escrupulosamente, ele foi capaz de considerar uma carreira no mercado imobiliário e em 1877 fez planos de viajar para Hispaniola, onde um boom da especulação imobiliária estava em andamento. Convencido por um amigo de que poderia documentar melhor a viagem com uma câmera, ele comprou seu primeiro equipamento fotográfico.

A excursão nunca aconteceu, mas Eastman era viciado em fotografia. Ele procurou os dois fotógrafos amadores em Rochester, George Monroe e George Selden, e tornou-se seu aluno voluntário. Uma assinatura do "British Journal of Photography" o inspirou a fazer melhorias na fotografia de chapa seca, então uma alternativa inferior à fotografia de chapa úmida (um processo em que uma chapa de vidro era exposta e revelada enquanto molhada). Esses experimentos resultaram em uma fórmula para filme de papel à base de gelatina e uma máquina para revestimento de placas secas. Ele começou a vender pratos secos em abril de 1880, em uma sala acima de uma loja de música no distrito financeiro de Rochester.

A carreira de Eastman recebeu um impulso quando E & amp H.T. Anthony, o principal distribuidor nacional de suprimentos fotográficos da época, começou a comprar suas placas. Por um tempo, ele continuou a trabalhar no banco, mas ofereceu sua renúncia em setembro de 1881, após ser preterido para uma promoção que ele sentia que era sua por direito.

Para Eastman, a década de 1880 foi uma década dinâmica. Em 1884, ele contratou William Hall Walker, um inventor e fabricante de câmeras, e juntos projetaram o suporte de rolo Eastman-Walker, que permitia aos fotógrafos avançar o filme de papel através de uma câmera em vez de manusear placas individuais. O porta-rolos veio definir a tecnologia básica das câmeras até a introdução da fotografia digital no final do século XX. Mais imediatamente, ela se tornou a base para a primeira câmera Kodak, inicialmente conhecida como "câmera porta-rolos de peito". O termo Kodak, cunhado para a ocasião pelo próprio Eastman, apareceu pela primeira vez em dezembro de 1887.

Embora a primeira câmera Kodak fosse muito popular entre os amadores, o filme de papel usado deu resultados medíocres. Henry Reichenbach, um químico contratado para trabalhar com emulsões, foi convidado a criar um filme transparente e flexível. O sucesso veio em fevereiro de 1889, quando Reichenbach alcançou uma solução que, ao fluir sobre o vidro e evaporar, produziria um filme transparente e flexível que poderia ser cortado em tiras e inserido nas câmeras. Este filme, que foi usado por Thomas Edison em seus primeiros experimentos com a câmera cinematográfica, tornou-se a peça central do império Eastman, embora sua patente tenha sido contestada com sucesso posteriormente.

Na década de 1890, a empresa Eastman passou por tempos difíceis com a saída de Reichenbach e uma depressão financeira nacional, mas se recuperou em 1900, ano em que a empresa lançou a câmera Brownie, que foi vendida por um dólar. Com a chegada do século XX, uma combinação de inovação, perseverança e senso de negócios obstinado colocou a empresa Eastman na vanguarda da indústria fotográfica internacional, uma posição que nunca abandonou.

George Eastman nunca se casou, embora tenha mantido um longo relacionamento platônico com Josephine Dickman, uma cantora treinada e esposa do sócio George Dickman, e ele se tornou especialmente próximo dela após a morte de Maria Eastman em 1907. Um notável filantropo, Eastman doou mais de US $ 100 milhões para instituições de caridade e fez questão de fazê-lo durante sua vida, em vez de abrir uma fundação. Ele também era um viajante ávido e amante da música. Diante da perspectiva de viver em uma cadeira de rodas, ele suicidou-se com uma pistola automática em 14 de março de 1932.

Eastman, o Empreendedor
A maior importância histórica de George Eastman foi como empresário. Ele construiu uma nova corporação multinacional em rápido crescimento que transformou a indústria fotográfica de sua época e proporcionou liderança mundial por mais de um século. Eastman foi para a indústria fotográfica o que John D. Rockefeller foi para a indústria do petróleo e James Duke foi para a indústria do tabaco, um determinado empresário americano de importância internacional.

Usando a introdução da popular câmera Kodak, Eastman refez a pequena e sonolenta indústria fotográfica americana em que havia entrado em 1880. Dominada por algumas empresas de suprimentos nacionais e um número relativamente pequeno de fotógrafos de estúdio profissionais, a velha indústria enfrentou um jovem empresário persistente . Ele rapidamente reformulou o setor em um setor altamente inovador e em rápido crescimento, onde uma grande empresa ganhou destaque mundial.

O empresário de Rochester tomou a iniciativa em um momento em que outros empresários americanos inovadores também enfrentavam o novo mercado nacional surgido com a conclusão da malha ferroviária americana. Como Eastman, esses empresários enfrentaram a concorrência de preços que reduzia os lucros. Os mais visionários construíram grandes corporações, muitas vezes adquirindo ou fundindo-se com concorrentes ou construindo empresas com instalações integradas de marketing, produção e fornecimento de matéria-prima. Eastman fez as duas coisas.

Em meados da década de 1890, a experiência anterior de Eastman no negócio o convenceu de que fotógrafos amadores e profissionais estavam dispostos a pagar um preço premium para garantir qualidade e confiabilidade absoluta de materiais fotossensíveis, como filme em rolo, chapas secas e papel de impressão fotográfica. Conseqüentemente, a Eastman desenvolveu uma série de estratégias de negócios multifacetadas em evolução que buscavam manter altos lucros competindo com a qualidade, confiabilidade e melhorias do produto, em vez de competir com preços mais baixos. Essas estratégias envolviam 1) produção de materiais fotossensíveis confiáveis ​​e de alta qualidade 2) melhorias contínuas em câmeras de filme de rolo 3) aquisição de empresas concorrentes 4) integração de marketing, produção e fornecimento de matéria-prima em uma empresa 5) superioridade de pesquisa em ciência fotográfica e tecnologia e 6) desenvolvimento de pessoal-chave para otimizar os lucros e, eventualmente, herdar os cargos de alta administração da empresa.

Já em meados da década de 1890, Eastman articulou estratégias de melhorias contínuas em câmeras de filme de rolo que incluíam o desenvolvimento de novos recursos de câmera dentro da empresa e a compra de patentes de terceiros. Entre 1895 e 1898, Eastman até comprou três pequenas empresas de câmeras para adquirir patentes.

A partir de 1885, quando começou a produzir papel para impressão fotográfica, Eastman lutou muito para manter uma participação significativa no mercado. Para obter vantagem competitiva, ele e Charles Abbott, presidente de uma empresa de papel fotográfico concorrente, negociaram em 1898 um contrato exclusivo para a América do Norte para a compra de papel bruto do principal fornecedor internacional, a General Paper Company. Localizada em Bruxelas, Bélgica, esta empresa produzia o melhor papel bruto do mundo para fabricantes fotográficos. Eastman e Abbott então usaram seu controle de papel bruto para combinar a divisão de papel fotográfico da Eastman Kodak com a empresa Abbott e duas outras grandes empresas de papel fotográfico. Em três anos, a Eastman Kodak adquiriu essa colheitadeira e dominou o setor.

Entre 1902 e 1904 a Eastman voltou sua atenção para os pratos secos, adquirindo um produtor inglês e três grandes produtores americanos. Ele não apenas obteve domínio nesse setor, mas também adquiriu segredos comerciais vitais para a fabricação de emulsões que fortaleceram a qualidade do filme em rolo e ajudaram a manter o domínio mundial entre fotógrafos amadores e cineastas.

Em uma década, George Eastman havia consolidado na Eastman Kodak a maioria das empresas americanas líderes espalhadas nos vários setores de produção da indústria. Além disso, ele transformou sua empresa em uma grande corporação multinacional com instalações de produção e distribuição em todo o mundo. Significativamente, Eastman conseguiu essa consolidação sem o "benefício" dos poderosos banqueiros de investimento como o J.P. Morgan.

Enquanto isso, como Rockefeller, Duke, Ford e outros, Eastman começou a reunir dentro da Eastman Kodak as funções anteriormente desempenhadas por empresas de marketing, empresas de produção e empresas de fornecimento de materiais separadas. Inicialmente, sua pequena empresa era uma empresa de manufatura, mas já em meados da década de 1880 ele começou a desenvolver seu próprio departamento de vendas, chegando a estabelecer um outlet em Londres. Na primeira década do século 20, ele se expandiu mundialmente e comprou vinte grandes lojas de varejo fotográfico em grandes cidades dos Estados Unidos e do Canadá. Nesse ínterim, ele começou a controlar as matérias-primas básicas por meio de contratos de longo prazo como aquele com a General Paper Company. Ele, então, gradualmente construiu a capacidade de produzir materiais de necessidade vital, como papel em bruto, gelatina, produtos químicos e lentes. Ele até comprou uma mina de carvão para as necessidades de combustível da empresa.

Reunindo em uma empresa a fabricação, vendas e produção de matérias-primas, obteve-se operações coordenadas e confiáveis ​​que contribuíram para o crescimento e aumento da lucratividade da Eastman Kodak Company. Em 1912, Eastman contratou o fotocientista inglês, Dr. C.E. Kenneth Mees, para criar e dirigir o Laboratório de Pesquisa Eastman Kodak em Rochester, Nova York. Eastman ofereceu a Mees que seu novo laboratório não precisava produzir um produto prático por uma década, mas o encarregou de "o futuro da fotografia". Mees e outros membros da equipe de administração cuidadosamente selecionada da Eastman de fato garantiram o futuro da empresa. Era o único filho de Eastman, criado por meio século pelo empresário mais visionário da indústria fotográfica.

Eastman patenteia um processo de placa seca
Quando George Eastman começou a estudar fotografia em 1877, as fotos foram tiradas usando um processo chamado fotografia de placa úmida. Mais tarde, ele descreveu esse processo ao relembrar suas primeiras excursões fotográficas por Rochester com seu mentor George Monroe:

Eastman decidiu desde o início simplificar esse processo. Quando não estava no banco, continuou experimentando a fotografia e, para ampliar seus conhecimentos, assinou o "British Journal of Photography". O primeiro número que recebeu, que chegou em fevereiro de 1878, continha notícias intrigantes: Charles Bennett havia desenvolvido uma fórmula que tornava as emulsões de placa seca mais rápidas.

Esse foi todo o incentivo de que Eastman precisava. Sem treinamento e sem credenciais, ele começou a devorar a literatura fotográfica e se corresponder com tantos companheiros amadores quanto pôde encontrar. Ele contatou um profissional, um tal Carey Lea, e arengou com ele com perguntas até que o professor se tornou o aluno. Freqüentemente, sua mãe é encontrada dormindo no chão pela manhã.

Eastman inicialmente experimentou sua fórmula de gelatina amadurecida e brometo de prata derramando-a de uma chaleira em uma placa de vidro e depois distribuindo-a com uma vareta de vidro. Esse método consumia muito tempo e, portanto, era caro, então ele mandou construir uma máquina de revestimento de acordo com suas especificações. Em sua busca abrangente pela simplicidade, ele também construiu uma câmera mais leve do que as câmeras padrão disponíveis. Com esse sistema, ele tirou sua primeira fotografia de chapa seca: uma vista do edifício Charles P. Ham do outro lado da rua de sua janela.

A atenção de Eastman para uma máquina de revestimento e uma câmera leve mostra-o pensando em termos de custos de fabricação desde o estágio inicial. E, de fato, em uma época em que os inovadores da chapa seca entupiam as páginas de publicidade dos jornais fotográficos, a eficiência na produção é o que faria Eastman se destacar. Mas em 1878 ele ainda era um humilde bancário com pouco capital à sua disposição. Em uma demonstração de alguma insensibilidade, ele chamou seu tio, Horace Eastman, para um empréstimo, mas a esposa de Horace tinha acabado de ser internada em um asilo de loucos e nenhum dinheiro estava à vista para aqueles quartos.

Destemido, Eastman elaborou um plano mais arriscado: ele iria para Londres, onde o negócio de chapa seca estava crescendo, venderia os direitos de sua máquina de revestimento e usaria o dinheiro para iniciar seu próprio negócio em casa. Assim, Eastman foi embora, $ 400 drenados de sua conta poupança, sem um contato pessoal em Londres em seu nome e, o que é mais importante, sem ter obtido a patente de sua máquina de revestimento.

Em seu primeiro dia em Londres, Eastman marchou para os escritórios do "British Journal of Photography". O prestigioso editor da revista, W. B. Bolton, ficou incrédulo e talvez até um pouco irritado pela primeira vez, mas quando Eastman mostrou o que podia fazer, Bolton prometeu abrir portas para ele. Isso levou Eastman a Charles Fry, cujo parceiro era Charles Bennett - o mesmo homem cujo processo de chapa seca ele adaptou para seu próprio uso. Vendo que Bennett e Fry não conseguiam atender aos pedidos usando o que era considerado o que há de mais moderno no ramo de chapa seca, Eastman voltou à América e contatou George Selden, outro de seus mentores e um excelente advogado de patentes. Juntos, eles solicitaram a patente de sua máquina de revestimento em setembro de 1879.

Enquanto esperava pelos resultados do Escritório de Patentes, Eastman continuou a negociar com Fry em Londres. No final, não deu em nada. Mas em abril de 1880, quando ele recebeu a patente de um "método e aparelho para revestir placas para uso em fotografia", a notícia de sua máquina de revestimento estava começando a se espalhar. A implicação para os fotógrafos era clara: se a fotografia de chapa seca de gelatina pudesse ser viabilizada, eles não teriam mais que fazer suas próprias chapas no local, mas poderiam comprá-las pré-embaladas de um fabricante.

Ansioso por aproveitar esse impulso, Eastman alugou um quarto acima de uma loja de música no distrito financeiro de Rochester e começou a fabricar chapas secas com sua máquina de revestimento. A fábrica era um estudo de economia feroz, com compartimentos para tudo, até as toalhas. Essa dedicação à eficiência rapidamente valeu a pena. Em julho, ele tinha uma nova máquina de revestimento aprimorada para promover. Em agosto, Edward Anthony, chefe da mais prestigiada empresa nacional de suprimentos fotográficos da América, estava comprando as placas de Eastman. A capital chegou antes do fim do ano, de Henry Strong, um amigo da família.

Três anos depois de tirar sua primeira fotografia, George Eastman estava a caminho.

Eastman e produção em massa
Embora não seja frequentemente observado, o sonho de George Eastman de uma câmera que pudesse ser fabricada para as massas baseava-se na existência de peças intercambiáveis. No final do século XIX, este ainda era um princípio amplamente não testado, com uma história rochosa que remonta quase ao início da República.

A primeira figura digna de nota a tentar atingir o objetivo das peças intercambiáveis ​​foi Eli Whitney. Tendo visto sua tentativa de comercializar seu descaroçador de algodão terminar em desastre, Whitney voltou-se em 1797 para a idéia de fabricação de armas. Na época, o Congresso previu um ataque de Napoleão. Jogando com esse medo, Whitney foi capaz de iniciar a prática de contratos governamentais para traficantes de armas - um costume que continua até hoje.

O contrato era incrivelmente generoso. Entrando em vigor em 21 de junho de 1798, exigia que Whitney produzisse 10.000 mosquetes, os primeiros 4.000 dos quais seriam entregues em um ano e meio. Para cada mosquete entregue, ele receberia $ 13,40, para um total de $ 134.000, com adiantamentos ao longo do caminho, se necessário. O que tornava esta bela soma ainda mais surpreendente era o fato de que Whitney quase não tinha conhecimento de fabricação de armas em uma época em que os melhores arsenais eram incapazes de produzir mais de 5.000 armas por ano.

Whitney montou uma fábrica em East Haven, Connecticut, e pressionou muito seus trabalhadores, mas em seu primeiro prazo final em 30 de setembro de 1799, ele não tinha mosquetes para mostrar para si mesmo. Na verdade, ele nem mesmo equipou seu arsenal. Pensando rapidamente, ele escreveu uma carta ao Secretário de Estado Oliver Wolcott, anunciando um "novo princípio" na manufatura. Esse princípio, afirmava ele, revolucionaria a indústria de armamentos ao mesmo tempo que melhorava a qualidade dos produtos.

"Um dos meus objetivos principais", escreveu ele, "é formar ferramentas para que elas mesmas moldem o trabalho e dêem a cada parte sua justa proporção - que, uma vez realizada, dará expedição, uniformidade e exatidão ao todo . " Intrigado, Wolcott concedeu uma extensão, com a condição de que Whitney demonstrasse seus resultados.

Em janeiro de 1801, diante de uma audiência que incluía o presidente John Adams e o velho amigo de Whitney, o presidente eleito Thomas Jefferson, Whitney mostrou pessoalmente como poderia encaixar dez fechaduras diferentes no mesmo mosquete usando nada além de uma chave de fenda comum. Ele então fez um melhor e desmontou 100 fechaduras diferentes, embaralhou suas peças e juntou-as de volta "pegando as primeiras peças que estavam à mão". Seu público ficou surpreso.

Infelizmente, as fechaduras de Whitney não eram nem remotamente intercambiáveis. Como foi descoberto mais tarde, todos os componentes individuais de sua fechadura traziam marcas de peças feitas individualmente. O historiador Merritt Roe Smith é categórico sobre o assunto: "Whitney deve ter encenado sua demonstração de 1801 com espécimes especialmente preparados para a ocasião."

Muitos industriais americanos alegaram alegremente a intercambialidade depois de Whitney, sem a menor prova para sustentar suas afirmações. Samuel Colt, o inventor do seis tiros, até mesmo se juntou a Eli Whitney, Jr., para aumentar a ilusão de sucesso. Mas, na verdade, os avanços reais estavam ocorrendo na Inglaterra enquanto os americanos mexiam.

Henry Maudslay cresceu perto dos estaleiros de Woolwich, onde se tornou útil desde cedo, fazendo e enchendo cartuchos para o arsenal local. Aos 13 anos, ele chamou a atenção do famoso serralheiro e gênio do encanamento Joseph Bramah. Mas Maudslay era inteligente demais para tolerar outro gênio por muito tempo. Quando Bramah se recusou a lhe dar um aumento, ele partiu sozinho.

Em 1797, Maudslay abriu sua própria oficina e desenvolveu um torno de descanso de slide, que melhorou os tornos anteriores tanto na velocidade quanto na precisão com que podia cortar metal. Com efeito, o torno de Maudslay, que incorporava uma lâmina de aço para cadinho montada em vigas triangulares planas com precisão, permitia-lhe trabalhar em grande escala, mantendo a precisão do chaveiro ou do relojoeiro.

O ano de 1808 encontrou Maudslay em Portsmouth, produzindo blocos de cordame de madeira, que foram usados ​​em grande parte a bordo de navios de guerra para mover armas para a posição de tiro rapidamente. Naquela época, uma embarcação da terceira classe exigia 1.400 blocos, todos feitos à mão. Isso não era problema para Maudslay, que podia produzir 130.000 blocos por ano.

O trabalho de Maudslay abriu o caminho para a fabricação de peças intercambiáveis, e ele logo se tornou muito procurado por aspirantes a engenheiros. Entre seus muitos aprendizes estava Joseph Whitworth, que desenvolveu instrumentos de medição com precisão de um milionésimo de polegada. Essa foi uma etapa vital, porque a intercambialidade dependia de peças usinadas com precisão, que naturalmente tinham que ser mensuráveis ​​para serem feitas.

Whitworth passou a descrever um método para padronizar roscas de parafuso em um artigo de 1841 intitulado "Um sistema uniforme de roscas de parafuso". Os primeiros parafusos padronizados logo se seguiram, e com eles a produção em massa estava finalmente ao alcance.

Em uma época em que as máquinas feitas à mão ainda eram a norma, as tentativas de aplicar ferramentas de precisão a produtos específicos necessariamente ocorriam caso a caso. O exemplo mais famoso, é claro, é o carro Modelo T de Henry Ford, que saiu de suas linhas de montagem pela primeira vez em 1909. Mas, na verdade, George Eastman chegou lá antes da Ford.

Embora Eastman reconhecesse desde cedo que seus lucros estavam nas vendas de filmes, ele também sabia que não venderia nenhum filme se suas câmeras não funcionassem. O suporte do rolo Eastman-Walker, lançado em 1885, mostrou o quão bem ele considerou esse problema. Embora contivesse 17 peças separadas, sua empresa foi capaz de lidar com um grande volume de pedidos desde o início. Isso se tornou ainda mais óbvio em 1888, quando o suporte de rolo foi incorporado à "câmera de peito de suporte de rolo" da Kodak e as vendas saltaram para 5.000 unidades em seis meses. Embora esse produto às vezes quebrasse, as peças eram na verdade intercambiáveis ​​e, portanto, relativamente fáceis de consertar, mesmo com o ritmo de vendas da Eastman.

Após um século de afirmações falsas, o slogan de pelo menos um americano - "Você aperta o botão, nós fazemos o resto" da Kodak - representava mais do que uma ostentação vazia.

Eastman vende a linha Kodak

A carreira de marketing de Eastman começou essencialmente em 1885, quando ele introduziu o suporte de rolo Eastman-Walker, que permitia que uma série de exposições fossem avançadas através da câmera. Com essa invenção, todo um novo conceito em fotografia foi lançado - uma câmera que qualquer pessoa poderia usar. Seu desafio era deixar esse conceito claro para um público acostumado a pensar em equipamentos fotográficos como proibitivos e obscuros.

O primeiro golpe de Eastman foi talvez o mais brilhante. O nome de uma marca, segundo ele, "não deve significar nada. Se o nome não tiver definição no dicionário, deve ser associado apenas ao seu produto". Para esse fim, ele cunhou e registrou o termo Kodak, que era fácil de lembrar e difícil de escrever incorretamente.

Usado pela primeira vez em dezembro de 1887, o nome pegou como um incêndio. Em quase nenhum momento, Kodak estava sendo usado como substantivo, verbo e adjetivo. As pessoas que usavam o produto passaram a ser conhecidas como Kodakers, e a letra K se tornou um jogo justo para qualquer um que pudesse descobrir como incorporá-la a um nome: Kola, Kristmas, Dia de Kolumbus. The Kodak Kid e Kodak Komics surgiram, assim como * Captain Kodak *, um romance para jovens de Alexander Black. Uma falsa empresa Kodak abriu uma loja na Flórida, e inúmeras outras mantiveram o departamento jurídico da Eastman ocupado perseguindo infrações à marca registrada.

O nome foi um começo auspicioso, mas dificilmente foi a única estratégia que Eastman empenhou. Desde o início, ele reconheceu que a força vital de seu negócio estava nas crianças, que manteriam o interesse dos fotógrafos por muito tempo depois que a novidade da câmera tivesse passado. Os primeiros anúncios da Kodak mostram essa sabedoria em ação, enquanto ele se esforçava para descrever eventos familiares relacionados a seu produto. Um pintor amador que já foi, ele até mostrou certo talento para o design nesses anúncios, exibindo-os em letras grandes com desenhos elegantes em um momento em que o anúncio típico estava ocupado com informações. Segundo a tradição, também foi a Eastman quem teve a ideia da embalagem amarela brilhante que ainda hoje se destaca nas prateleiras cheias de mercadorias.

Após o rubor do sucesso, no entanto, ficou óbvio que Eastman estava se exagerando, então ele começou a procurar alguém para assumir o cargo de publicitário da empresa. Ele encontrou exatamente o homem certo em Lewis Burnell Jones, um graduado da Universidade de Rochester que trabalhava para um jornal de Syracuse, que ele contratou em março de 1892. Magro e esguio, Jones se tornou um esteio da empresa Eastman nas quatro décadas seguintes .

Jones mostrou sua compreensão inata de para onde o negócio da fotografia estava indo quando disse a um entrevistador que "era o encanto da fotografia não apenas esta pequena caixa preta que deve ser vendida ao público". Na verdade, ele nem precisava de instruções no plano da empresa. Um dia, Eastman o chamou em seu escritório e perguntou por que sua cópia era tão boa. Quando Jones arriscou que era porque tinha sido escrito para o público e não para o chefe, Eastman disse a ele: "De agora em diante, não quero ver nenhum anúncio até que seja impresso." Com esse acordo, o público passou a ler slogans como "Se não é um Eastman, não é uma Kodak", "Imagine à frente! Kodak conforme você avança!" e o hard-sell "O instantâneo que você quer amanhã, você deve tirar hoje."

Talvez a técnica de publicidade mais eficaz produzida pela empresa Eastman, porém, envolvesse não palavras, mas uma imagem: a Kodak Girl. Foi Eastman, o solteirão perene, que lançou essa ideia (embora ele a tenha emprestado, é certo, da campanha Gibson Girls) para o público em 1888, quando ele vestiu uma jovem mulher ao ar livre em um vestido listrado e teve sua foto tirada com um câmera na mão dela. No início, as Kodak Girls eram renderizadas em desenhos de linha, mas em 1901, com melhorias em meio-tom, impressão e fotografia, a primeira Kodak Girl ilustrada fotograficamente apareceu em um anúncio de jornal.

Uma viajante de mente independente, a Kodak Girl era convenientemente tanto fotógrafa quanto assunto fotográfico, e ao longo dos anos muitos meninos (e homens) se tornaram um admirador secreto, enquanto incontáveis ​​meninas copiavam seu visual. Ainda na década de 1960, a tradição sobreviveu, quando modelos enfeitados em ternos listrados desceram às praias da Inglaterra, tirando fotos de quem por acaso estivesse lá. A essa altura, é claro, a campanha publicitária de Eastman havia se tornado tão profundamente arraigada na mente das pessoas que ninguém precisava ser informado de seu significado. Tirar fotos de lindas garotas com câmeras Kodak nas mãos, que estavam tirando fotos elas mesmas, era simplesmente algo que todo mundo fazia.

A câmera Kodak começa a enlouquecer
A introdução da câmera Kodak em maio de 1888 foi um evento dramático. Embora custasse US $ 25 (muito dinheiro naquela época, mas menos do que o custo das câmeras de chapa úmida), era fácil de usar, como Eastman deixou claro com seu slogan publicitário: "Você aperta o botão, nós fazemos o descanso."

E as pessoas pressionaram o botão. Em agosto, Eastman estava tendo problemas para atender aos pedidos enquanto as câmeras Kodak avançavam para a arena pública. O presidente Grover Cleveland tinha um, embora aparentemente tenha demorado a aprender a virar a chave que fez o filme avançar, assim como o Dalai Lama, que o levou consigo quando deixou o Tibete pela primeira vez. Gilbert e Sullivan prestaram a Eastman o maior elogio ao imortalizar seu produto em uma canção para a opereta "Utopia":

Então toda a multidão tira nossos looks Em cadernos de memorandos de bolso. Para diagnosticar Nossa modesta pose, os Kodaks fazem o melhor que podem: Se você possuir evidências do que é timidez de donzela Você precisa apertar um botão - E nós fazemos o resto!

O aparecimento das câmeras de Eastman foi tão repentino e penetrante que a reação em alguns setores foi de medo. Uma figura chamada "demônio da câmera" começou a aparecer em resorts de praia, rondando as instalações até poder pegar as banhistas desprevenidas. Um resort sentiu a tendência tão fortemente que postou um aviso: "AS PESSOAS ESTÃO PROIBIDAS DE USAR SEUS KODAKS NA PRAIA." Outros locais não eram mais seguros. Por um tempo, as câmeras Kodak foram banidas do Monumento a Washington. O "Hartford Courant" também deu o alarme, declarando que "o tranquilo cidadão não pode se entregar a nenhuma hilaridade sem o risco de ser pego em flagrante e ter sua fotografia distribuída entre seus filhos da Escola Dominical".

Hilaridade, no entanto, era a chave. Enquanto o daguerreótipo e seus sucessores de placa úmida exigiam imobilidade de seus objetos, a câmera Kodak foi capaz de capturar sua espontaneidade. Essas novas imagens de pessoas eram tão convincentes que hoje é difícil acreditar que alguém tenha se divertido na era do daguerreótipo.

O instantâneo simplesmente registrou emoções que haviam escapado às câmeras antes ou realmente mudou a maneira como as pessoas se sentiam a respeito de si mesmas? A pergunta pode ser irrespondível no final, mas certamente é verdade que a câmera Kodak capturou a América exatamente no momento em que a América estava alcançando novos patamares de vivacidade. Em todos os lugares, o ritmo estava acelerando. Os primeiros automóveis foram surgindo nas ruas. Os telefones estavam começando a enfeitar as casas dos cidadãos comuns. O cinema, tornado possível em parte pela contribuição de Eastman ao filme de celulóide, estava na verdade registrando toda essa atividade e, em seguida, acelerando-a ao apresentá-la aos espectadores.

É claro que, nessa mesma época, a própria personificação da diversão também havia surgido nos limites da cidade de Nova York. Coney Island, famosa por tantas coisas, era um verdadeiro paraíso fotogênico. Onde antes os visitantes precisavam se contentar com o Observatório Camera Obscura (erguido em 1883), de repente eles tinham o poder das imagens em suas mãos: instantâneos na roda gigante, instantâneos nas montanhas-russas, eles podiam tirar instantâneos em quase qualquer lugar.

Em mais um exemplo de serendipidade, a câmera Brownie, que baixou o preço de uma câmera Kodak para um dólar verdadeiramente democrático, foi introduzida em 1900, exatamente quando Coney Island estava passando por uma explosão de cartões postais. Em 1898, com o aperfeiçoamento das técnicas de impressão e o aumento das velocidades de transporte, o custo dos cartões postais foi reduzido de dois centavos para um, e os cartões postais começaram a se espalhar de Coney Island a uma taxa surpreendente: em um único dia em setembro de 1906, um espantosos 200.000 cartões-postais foram postados em Coney Island.

Embora as fotos nos cartões-postais de Coney Island não tenham sido, em geral, tiradas com câmeras Brownie, elas foram, no entanto, emblemas poderosos para seus destinatários, que viram pela primeira vez o quanto a fotografia pode ser divertida. O século XX havia chegado e, com ele, a imagem de uma América sorridente.

Eastman Kodak apresenta a fotografia a cores
Com o advento do século XX e seus ritmos inebriantes, muitos inovadores intensificaram sua busca por meios de renderizar a fotografia em cores. George Eastman estava tão interessado quanto qualquer pessoa em vencer o problema. Indeed, convinced (correctly) that color photography would be mostly the province of amateurs, he dedicated himself to finding a process that not only could offer the complete spectrum of colors but would be simple to use. He eventually found one, although it would not turn out to be simple to develop.

In 1910, when Eastman established a color laboratory at Kodak Park under the leadership of MIT graduate Emerson Packard, lantern slides and hand-colored prints were enjoying tremendous popularity. Among the more successful marketers of lanterns slides were the Lumiere brothers, who a decade earlier had stunned the world with their projected motion pictures. The Lumieres offered to sell their lantern-slide operation to Eastman, but a visit to their Paris offices revealed a family operation in disarray, and Eastman, a prim bachelor with strict business standards, left in disgust.

Nevertheless, the European trip had strengthened Eastman's resolve. "I spent a good deal of time on new developments in color," he wrote of the trip, "which I hope will develop into something commercial." At Kodak Park, he instructed Packard to proceed as best he could without infringing on the Lumiere patents.

A series of efforts led by Packard and other Kodak employees resulted in the first signs of victory: a process that used red and green filters and transformed negatives directly into positives. Dubbed Kodachrome, the color process would no doubt have gone to market, but progress was stalled by the outbreak of World War I. Adding insult to injury, Eastman's Kodachrome prints received poor reviews at a March 1915 demonstration at the Royal Photographic Society and at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.

At this impasse, two complete amateurs entered the story and saved the day. Leopold Damrosch Mannes and Leopold Godowsky, Jr., both sons of famous musicians, had met as schoolmates and been drawn together by their mutual interest in sonatas and the Brownie camera. After seeing an early color movie, Mannes and Godowsky became convinced that they could do better and built a three-lens camera that combined the three primary colors projected as light. This had already been done by others, but in their excitement the failures of others did not seem worth exploring.

The two went on to college and met again in New York after graduation, whereon they fell to photographic experimentation again. With the help of impresario S. L. (Roxy) Rothafel, they were able to use the projection booth at the Rialto to produce their first dark, fuzzy pictures. Soon they had surpassed the efforts of others and were photographing a part of the color spectrum on double-layered plates -- in the bathtubs and sinks of their homes.

Their parents did not approve of these scientific forays, however, and so in 1922 they turned to George Eastman for financial help. Eastman proved non-committal, but two years later, Mannes and Godowsky were able to ingratiate themselves with C.E. Kenneth Mees, director of the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratory, and with that slender entree, to receive funding from other sources.

In 1930 the Eastman Kodak Company made improvements in color-movie technology, but it still lagged behind the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation. Mees, anxious to remain at the forefront, finally agreed to hire Mannes and Godowsky. (By this time, Eastman himself, ill and five years into his retirement, was far from the action at Kodak Park.)

With the Eastman School of Music at their disposal, the duo were finally able to hit their stride, although their methods were confusing to those around them. At the school, they were known as "those color experts," at Kodak Park, as "man and God." Working in a completely light-tight darkroom, they timed their plate developing by whistling Brahms at two beats to the second, leaving their colleagues to wonder what had become of the famed Kodak efficiency ethic.

Doubts about Mannes and Godowsky increased as the Great Depression wore on. Mees, by then a vice president, could only hope for the best as he stalled other departments filled with accomplished chemists and pressured the musicians for results. Under these conditions, Mannes and Godowsky developed first a two-color film and then a three-color one, both of which could be easily used by amateurs.

The Kodachrome name was revived, and on April 15, 1935, Kodachrome motion picture film went on sale. Shortly after that, Eastman Kodak introduced Kodachrome film for color slides. The process by which this film was developed was -- and still is -- maddeningly complex, but as with everything else at Kodak, the amateur did not have to worry about that, since developing was handled by the company. Vivid color photography for everyday use had become a reality.

Eastman Becomes a Mystery Donor to MIT
On February 29, 1912, Frank Lovejoy, then the general manager of Eastman Kodak, wrote George Eastman, suggesting that "you may be willing to lend a helping hand, and I am writing to say that I should welcome an opportunity of placing the plans before you." The help Lovejoy was requesting was a donation to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, of which he was an alumnus.

MIT was planning to build a new campus, and though its board of trustees included such financial heavyweights as T. Coleman du Pont and engineer Arthur D. Little, they could only come up with $500,000 of the $750,000 needed for the plan. With Eastman in mind, Richard Cockburn Maclaurin, the president of MIT, had contacted Lovejoy, hoping he would act as an intermediary.

Eastman was extremely careful about where his money went and was apt to micro-manage its use. He was known to demand that the buildings he funded be constructed with a minimum of ornament so as to cut cost, a habit that led Claude Bragdon, who designed several building funded by Eastman, to compare his attitude to "that of Pharaoh." Alternately, Eastman might insist on extra expenses to create the proper effect, as when the University of Rochester was expanding its hospital, and he demanded the stairwell corners be painted white, on the theory that "only a hardened sinner would spit in a white corner." Most important perhaps was Eastman's lifelong interest in guarding his privacy, a requirement that became less sustainable with each bequest he made.

But Eastman had also long admired MIT. Not only were two of his top assistants, Lovejoy and engineer Darragh de Lancey, graduates of the school, but he had read several of Maclaurin's annual reports to MIT's trustees and was familiar with his plans.

Maclaurin and Eastman met on March 5 at the Hotel Belmont in New York City, and the meeting spilled over into the evening as Maclaurin waxed eloquent on his plans for the new campus at MIT. As the meeting finally drew to a close, Eastman asked, "What sum will be needed?"

"Two and a half million," Maclaurin replied.

Eastman immediately agreed to send a check in that amount, on one condition: that his gift remain anonymous. Maclaurin happily accepted these terms, although it put him in an unusual quandary. The term "anonymous giver" was altogether too clumsy for everyday use. After a time, he decided on "Mr. Smith" as a pseudonym and gave the public two small clues: Mr. Smith did not live in Massachusetts, and he had never attended MIT.

The creation of Mr. Smith was the closest Eastman ever came to cultivating a public persona. It became a kind of a game to guess his identity, though no one did. MIT students went so far as to write lyrics on the subject, which were sung to the tune of "Marching Through Georgia":

Bring the good old bugle, boys, and we'll sing another song,
Of "Mr. Smith" and Dupy and the Corporation throng
Of loyal Tech alumni, almost ten thousand strong,
Who give--what we want--when we want it.

Hurrah! Hurrah! for Tech and Boston beans,
Hurrah! Hurrah! for "Smith," who'er that means
May he always have a hundred million in his jeans,
So we'll get -- what we want -- when we want it.

And so it went for another eight years, during which time Eastman donated $20 million in cash and Kodak stock to MIT. So safe was his identity that in 1916 he attended a banquet to celebrate the new campus and even joined in as the alumni toasted the marvelous Mr. Smith.

Eastman continued to keep Maclaurin busy trying to satisfy his demands. In 1918 he offered MIT $4 million in Kodak shares if matching funds could be found by December 31, 1919. Finally, seeing that these stipulations were wearing Maclaurin down, Eastman agreed, as a consolation prize, to reveal himself as the mystery donor at the annual alumni dinner on January 10, 1920.

The revelation that Mr. Smith was George Eastman, the famous recluse of Rochester, was front-page news. Maclaurin did not live to enjoy it, however. Exhausted from raising the $4 million to match Eastman's request, he had come down with pneumonia in December 1919, and Maclaurin died a week later, at the age of 50. His speech revealing Eastman's identity had to be read by others.

Eastman went on to become one of the major philanthropists of his era. On December 10, 1924, he held a press conference to announce that, besides retiring from Eastman Kodak, he would donate the majority of his fortune rather than hold onto it. In the short term, this meant $30 million in bequests that he had earmarked for four institutions. Two of these were institutions of higher learning for African Americans -- the Hampton Institute and the Tuskegee Institute. The others were the University of Rochester, where he had already established the Eastman School of Music. For the remaining eight years of his life, he continued to give smaller amounts to favorite causes such as dental clinics and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

His reasons were plain enough. "If a man has wealth," he declared in 1923, "he has to make a choice, because there is the money heaping up. He can keep it together in a bunch, and then leave it for others to administer after he is dead. Or he can get it into action and have fun, while he is still alive. I prefer getting it into action and adapting it to human needs, and making the plan work."

Eastman Retires and Goes on a Safari
In 1917, Eastman, having given the world permission to smile, decided he might be permitted himself, and put it exactly that way. "I never smiled until I was forty," he said. "Since then, I have tried to win back something of the fun that other men had when they were boys."

This remark is rather curious, in that Eastman had been dedicated to the fine art of the vacation for decades. Having first thrown himself into his career after an trip to Hispaniola fell through in 1877, he had been traveling ever since--at first to London, then on bicycle tours of Europe and Russia, camping trips out West and, if all else failed, getaways to Oak Lodge, his North Carolina retreat.

But there was also a certain frustrated quality to his constant globetrotting. Upon returning home, he was typically quick to let people know how much fun his trips had been, yet fun is the one thing that seemed to be lacking. Eastman's notion of relaxation was to plan out every moment in the itineraries of his traveling companions, right down to the courses of their meals. In this respect, it makes some sense that he would feel the urge to make his final expeditions more dramatic than usual. If he was going to break through his own net of control, it would take more than a bicycle tour through St. Petersburg.

Fittingly, the plan was linked to film. In the early 1920s, Martin Johnson, an exclusive sales agent for Kodak cameras and supplies in Missouri, and his wife, Osa, traveled to Africa and returned with a film, "Trailing African Wild Animals." Martin Johnson approached the motion-picture department at Kodak, asking for backing for another safari. When Eastman gave them $10,000, they began tempting him to join them sometime.

Shortly after retiring from his own company in 1925 at the age of 72, Eastman took the Osa and Martin Johnson up on their offer, and once again, the Eastman mode of travel came to life. Martin Johnson wrote Eastman that he could travel as if going to London, and so he did. More than 200 small boxes of uniform size were shipped out of Kodak Park, assembled and numbered so as to end up on the appropriate native porters' heads. Once they were in the Kedong Valley of Kenya, far from civilization, Eastman rolled out the day's fare: corn meal and graham flour that had been sterilized back at Kodak Park, caviar and vintage wine served in crystal goblets on linen-spread table.

At the time, big game hunting was on the wane, and many species were already considered endangered. As it was, however, Eastman managed to have plenty of excitement without firing a shot.

While out on the hunt one day, the party encountered a rhinoceros. Eastman saw that its horns were unsuitable for trophy-taking purposes, so he decided to film it instead. As the Martin and Osa Johnson looked on, he moved within 20 feet of the beast, filming as he approached. Apparently, the camera was giving him trouble, because he failed to react at first when the rhino lowered its head and charged. He simply stood there, waiting until the animal came within 15 feet before stepping out of the way. For a moment, the rhino became more enraged and, in a second charge, came within two paces of Eastman, at which point it was brought down by a shot from one of the horrified onlookers.

A second safari in 1928 garnered Eastman several trophies for his wall, but after his brush with death, it was all an anticlimax. Inevitably, whenever he showed his rhino film to viewers back in the States, he was admonished for his foolhardiness. For once, he seemed to enjoy the reaction. To a friend he wrote: "The affair could not have been more perfect if it had been staged and was the opportunity of a lifetime."

Indeed, after a lifetime of heavily engineered adventures, George Eastman had finally experienced his Kodak moment.

George Eastman: The Final Shot
The end of a life often explains a great deal about how it was lived, and the manner of George Eastman's death is no exception.

At the age of 74, Eastman had grown noticeably thin and weak, and he had difficulty standing. Two years later, his gait had become slow and shuffling. A doctor of today would have diagnosed spinal stenosis, but even without a name to describe his condition, he knew that an invalid's life was in store for him. Having seen his mother live out her last two years in a wheelchair, he also knew well what that meant.

Normally tight-lipped about his personal affairs, Eastman had been letting slip how he felt about his circumstances. One occasion found him confessing to a friend that there wasn't much left to live for. A more vivid expression involved one of his extravagant domestic routines. He had long employed Harold Gleason, an organist, to perform for him in his own home as he ate his morning breakfast. One of Eastman's most common requests was *Marche Romaine*, from a Gounod opera, and, as his health deteriorated, he gradually came to refer to this piece as "my funeral march."

On March 14, 1932, Eastman invited some friends to witness a change of his will. After some joking and warm conversation, he asked them to leave so that he could write a note. Moments later, he shot himself once in the heart with an automatic pistol. The note found by the household staff read simply: "To my friends, My work is done--, Why wait?" When his casket was carried out of the Eastman House, the accompanying music was *Marche Romaine*.

Suicide is inevitably a puzzling act, and all the more so when carried out by an inventor, because it is so rare. Indeed, besides Eastman, only two famous American inventors have died by their own hand.

One of these was John Fitch, who in 1787 demonstrated his steamboat, the first working example of such in the world, to the attendees of the Constitutional Convention, only to be derided and scorned by the crowd. Pressing ahead, Fitch organized steamboat excursions between Philadelphia and Trenton to less than enthusiastic acclaim. The situation reached the height of absurdity when the Patent Office issued patents to both Fitch and his rival, James Rumsey, for essentially the same invention. Fitch's complaints to Thomas Jefferson, who as Secretary of State was also empowered to prosecute patents, were to no avail. On July 7, 1798, in a boardinghouse in Bardstown, Kentucky, Fitch wrote a note that lamented "Nobody will believe that poor John Fitch can do anything worthy of attention," and ended his troubles with a draught of poison.

Edwin Armstrong suffered much the same misfortunes as Fitch. The inventor of FM radio, the super-regenerative circuit and the superheterodyne -- all of which represented enormous leaps forward for radio -- Armstrong was mired for most of his life in lawsuits. The bitterest of these contests was with David Sarnoff, the mastermind behind RCA. By 1954, when it was clear that Sarnoff would win the rights to use FM radio technology, Armstrong put on an overcoat, a scarf and pair of gloves, removed the air conditioner from his 13th-floor apartment in New York City. and jumped. (Sarnoff's first reaction upon hearing the news was to say: "I did not kill Armstrong.")

George Eastman suffered some of the same problems as did these two Inventors -- most notably the crushing weight of patent battles. Like them, he ultimately lost the fight for one of his most cherished inventions for him it was transparent flexible film, the patent for which was awarded posthumously to Hannibal Goodwin. Yet for all that, Eastman went on to build a hugely successful business, which neither Fitch nor Armstrong was ever able to do.

One might forgive Eastman because he was suffering from a debilitating disease, but it is not quite enough to interpret his suicide as an exercise of his right to die (which he supported on a political level). Successful inventors, having seen the benefits of perseverance, typically do not go gentle into that good night. Thomas Edison suffered Bright's disease and a host of other illnesses in his final years, yet he plowed ahead with his characteristic dynamism right to the very end. George Westinghouse, for his part, approached death with plans to design an electric wheelchair that would help him get around. And, in fact, Eastman himself had known severe emotional pain, if not physical agony, many times during his life as he watched his loved ones die around him.

But Eastman parted company from his famous contemporaries in another respect as well. In addition to being optimists, inventors have generally found it difficult to keep their personalities in check. Their profession encourages them to brag and complain and, as often as not, to lose themselves entirely in their own enthusiasms, as Edison did when he embarked on a half-serious plan to communicate with the dead. For an inventor to appear mad almost comes with the territory.

If there is one thing that can be said about Eastman, it is that he was a rational man. Throughout his life, he sounded the same themes again and again -- adventure, happiness and control, and the greatest of these was control. The early death of his father and his family's subsequent poverty stamped him with an insatiable need for stability, which he found in bachelorhood and a financial empire and held close ever after. As far as he was concerned, there was no world beyond the one he could dominate. Even when he punctuated his labors with travel, his drive for order went with him in his compulsion to plan out every last detail of his itinerary. In this light, Eastman's career can be seen as act of self-sacrifice. With one of his cameras in hand, it became possible to capture an instant of abandon, even happiness, and so we came to possess, as part of our human heritage, images of people smiling on adventures large and small. Of course, Eastman was often caught in camera in far-off locations as well, but in the end one fact is inescapable: one must look long and hard to find a picture of George Eastman smiling. In harnessing his impulses, he gave the world an experience that he never permitted himself.

Having borrowed the word "snapshot" from a hunting term to describe a bullet fired at random, Eastman proved unable to do anything haphazardly -- certainly not hunting or even photography, both of which he approached with the same fastidiousness he brought to industrial manufacturing. It is perhaps the supreme irony of his life, then, that the last bullet he fired was no snapshot at all, but the final step in an event carefully designed to bring out the desired results. It was, in other words, simply the most efficient thing to do.


George Eastman - History

With the slogan "you press the button, we do the rest," George Eastman put the first simple camera into the hands of a world of consumers in 1888. In so doing, he made a cumbersome and complicated process easy to use and accessible to nearly everyone.

Just as Eastman had a goal to make photography "as convenient as the pencil," Kodak continues to expand the ways images touch people's daily lives.


A handwritten farewell

Finally deciding to take matters into his own hands, Eastman ended his life with a single gunshot to the heart on March 14, 1932, at the age of 77.

The handwritten note above and his death certificate (shown below) are both on display at George Eastman House museum in Rochester, New York.

Cause of death appears to read: &ldquoSuicide by shooting self in heart with a revolver while temporarily insane.&rdquo

George Eastman was cremated, and his ashes buried on the grounds of Kodak Park (now known as Eastman Business Park) in Rochester, New York &mdash on the site of the empire he created.


Historic Mansion

The Colonial Revival mansion, built between 1902 and 1905, served as George Eastman’s primary residence until his death in 1932. Today, visitors can explore the historic mansion on their own or on a guided tour, offered daily. Live music performances are offered in the mansion most Sunday afternoons throughout the year.

On the main floor, visitors enter from the museum through the Palm House and Colonnade, which also provides access to the Schuyler C. Townson Terrace Garden. Past the Colonnade, visitors enter the Dining Room and continue into the Conservatory, the center of the mansion. The Billiard Room, Library, Great Hall, and Living Room are all accessible from this large two-story room. Up the Grand Staircase on the second floor, visitors will see the restored bedroom suite of Maria Kilbourn Eastman (George Eastman’s mother), the north and south organ chambers behind latticework, the Sitting Room, exhibitions related to George Eastman and Eastman Kodak Company, and the Discovery Room, with hands-on image-making activities for kids.

The third floor, now used for museum offices, once housed Eastman’s screening room and workshop, as well as living quarters for household staff. Museum members can go behind the scenes to the third floor and the basement on the monthly Upstairs/Downstairs tours.


George Eastman - History

Great Museums: Picture Perfect: George Eastman House

Located on historic East Avenue in Rochester, New York, this special showcases the 12.5-acre museum site that was the urban estate of George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company. The Museum focuses on the 150-year history of the art, technology, and impact of photography and motion pictures — media that continue to change our perception of the world. The 1910 Colonial era house, where Eastman lived and died, offers a glimpse into the private world of this marketing genius who invented the word “Kodak” and made photographers of us all!

George Eastman

George Eastman (July 12, 1854 – March 14, 1932) was an American innovator and entrepreneur who founded the Eastman Kodak Company and popularized the use of roll film, helping to bring photography to the mainstream. Roll film was also the basis for the invention of motion picture film in 1888 by the world’s first film-makers Eadweard Muybridge and Louis Le Prince, and a few years later by their followers Léon Bouly,Thomas Edison, the Lumière Brothers, and Georges Méliès.

He was a major philanthropist, establishing the Eastman School of Music, and schools of dentistry and medicine at the University of Rochester and in London contributing to RIT and the construction of MIT‘s second campus on the Charles River and donating to Tuskegee and Hampton universities. In addition, he provided funds for clinics in London and other European cities to serve low-income residents.

In the last few years of his life Eastman suffered with chronic pain and reduced functionality due to a spine illness. On March 14, 1932 Eastman shot himself in the heart, leaving a note which read, “To my friends: my work is done. Why wait?”

U.S. patent no. 388,850, issued to George Eastman, September 4, 1888

Eastman was born in Waterville, New York to George Washington Eastman and Maria Eastman (née Kilbourn), the youngest child, at the 10-acre farm which his parents bought in 1849. He had two older sisters, Ellen Maria and Katie. He was largely self-educated, although he attended a private school in Rochester after the age of eight. His father had started a business school, the Eastman Commercial College in the early 1840s in Rochester, New York, described as one of the first “boomtowns” in the United States, with a rapid growth in industry. As his father’s health started deteriorating, the family gave up the farm and moved to Rochester in 1860. His father died of a brain disorder in May 1862. To survive and afford George’s schooling, his mother took in boarders.

Maria’s second daughter, Katie, had contracted polio when young and died in late 1870 when George was 16 years old. The young George left school early and started working. As George Eastman began to experience success with his photography business, he vowed to repay his mother for the hardships she had endured in raising him.

In 1884, Eastman patented the first film in roll form to prove practicable he had been tinkering at home to develop it. In 1888, he perfected the Kodak camera, the first camera designed specifically for roll film. In 1892, he established the Eastman Kodak Company, in Rochester, New York. It was one of the first firms to mass-produce standardized photography equipment. The company also manufactured the flexible transparent film, devised by Eastman in 1889, which proved vital to the subsequent development of the motion picture industry.

He started his philanthropy early, sharing the income from his business to establish educational and health institutions. Notable among his contributions were a $625,000 gift in 1901 (equivalent to $17.5 million in present day terms) to the Mechanics Institute, now Rochester Institute of Technology and a major gift in the early 1900s to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which enabled the construction of buildings on its second campus by the Charles River. MIT opened this campus in 1916.

Vida pessoal

George Eastman never married, because he carried on a long platonic relationship with Josephine Dickman, a trained singer and the wife of business associate George Dickman, and he became especially close to her after the death of his mother, Maria Eastman, in 1907. He was also an avid traveler and music lover.

His mother, Maria, was his main family for the majority of his life, and her death was particularly crushing to George. Almost pathologically concerned with decorum, he found himself unable for the first time to control his emotions in the presence of friends. “When my mother died I cried all day”, he explained later. “I could not have stopped to save my life”. Due to his mother’s hesitancy and refusal to take his gifts, George Eastman could never do enough for his mother during her lifetime. Thus, after she was gone, George opened the Eastman Theater in Rochester on September 4, 1922, among its features was a chamber-music hall dedicated to her memory: the Kilbourn Theater. And long after that, a rose cutting from her childhood home still flowered on the grounds of the Eastman House.

Later Years

George Eastman, 1917

Eastman was associated with Kodak company in an administrative and an executive capacity until his death he contributed much to the development of its notable research facilities. In 1911, he founded the Eastman Trust and Savings Bank. While discouraging the formation of unions at his manufacturing plant, he established paternal systems of support for his employees.

He was one of the outstanding philanthropists of his time, donating more than $100 million to various projects in Rochester Cambridge, Massachusetts at two historically black colleges in the South and in several European cities. In 1918, he endowed the establishment of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and in 1921 a school of medicine and dentistry there.

In 1925, Eastman gave up his daily management of Kodak to become treasurer. He concentrated on philanthropic activities, to which he had already donated substantial sums. For example, he donated funds to establish the Eastman Dental Dispensary in 1916. He was one of the major philanthropists of his time, ranking only slightly behind Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and a few others, but did not seek publicity for his activities. He concentrated on institution-building and causes that could help people’s health. From 1926 until his death, Eastman donated $22,050 per year to the American Eugenics Society.

George Eastman donated £200,000 in 1926 to fund a dental clinic in London, UK after being approached by the Chairman of the Royal Free Hospital, Lord Riddell. This was in addition to donations of £50,000 each from Lord Riddell and the Royal Free honorary treasurer. On 20 November 1931, the Eastman Dental Clinic opened in front of Neville Chamberlain and the American Ambassador. The clinic was incorporated into the Royal Free Hospital and was committed to providing dental care for disadvantaged children from central London.

Infirmity and Suicide

In his final two years Eastman was in intense pain caused by a disorder affecting his spine. He had trouble standing, and his walk became a slow shuffle. Today it might be diagnosed as a form of degenerative disease such as disc herniations from trauma or age causing either painful nerve root compressions, or perhaps a type of lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal caused by calcification in the vertebrae. Since his mother suffered the final 2 years of her life in a wheelchair, she also may have had a spine condition but that is unknown—only her uterine cancer and successful surgery is documented in her health history. If she did have a musculoskeletal disorder, perhaps George Eastman’s spine condition may have been due to a congenital disease, such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, degenerative disc disease, or a variant of Ehlers-Danlos collagen disorder—conditions known to be inheritable but usually presenting earlier in age. Eastman grew increasingly depressed due to his pain, reduced ability to function, and also since he witnessed his mother’s suffering from pain. On March 14, 1932, Eastman committed suicide with a single gunshot through the heart, leaving a note which read:

“To my friends, My work is done – Why wait?”

His funeral was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Rochester he was buried on the grounds of the company he founded at Kodak Park in Rochester, New York.

A First Day Cover Honoring George Eastman 1954.

During his lifetime Eastman donated $100 million to various organizations but most of the money went to the University of Rochester and to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (under the alias “Mr. Smith”). The Rochester Institute of Technology has a building dedicated to Eastman, in recognition of his support and substantial donations. In recognition of his donation to MIT, the university installed a plaque of Eastman (students rub their noses on the plaque for good luck.) Eastman also made substantial gifts to the Tuskegee Institute and the Hampton Institute. Upon his death, his entire estate went to the University of Rochester, where his name can be found on the Eastman Quadrangle of the River Campus. The auditorium at Mississippi State Universities Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering is named for Eastman in recognition of his inspiration to Swalm.

His former home at 900 East Avenue in Rochester, New York was opened as the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in 1949. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1954, the 100th anniversary of his birth, Eastman was honored with a postage stamp from the United States Post Office. In the fall of 2009, a statue of Eastman was erected on the Eastman Quad of the University of Rochester.

In 1915, Eastman founded a bureau of municipal research in Rochester “to get things done for the community” and to serve as an “independent, non-partisan agency for keeping citizens informed”. Called the Center for Governmental Research, the agency continues to carry out that mission.

Eastman had a very astute business sense. He focused his company on making film when competition heated up in the camera industry. By providing quality and affordable film to every camera manufacturer, Kodak managed to turn its competitors into de fato business partners.

In 1926, George Eastman was approached by Lord Riddell, the Chairman of Royal Free Hospital, to fund a dental clinic in London. He agreed to give £200,000, which was matched by £50,000 each from Lord Riddell and Sir Albert Levy, the Royal Free’s honorary treasurer. The Eastman Dental Clinic was opened on November 20, 1931, by the American Ambassador in the presence of Neville Chamberlain. The building, which resembled the Rochester Dispensary, was totally integrated into the Royal Free Hospital and included three wards for oral, otolaryngology and cleft lip and palate surgery. It was dedicated to providing dental care for children from the poor districts of central London. In a similar manner, Eastman went on to establish dental clinics in Rome,Paris, Brussels, and Stockholm.


George Eastman - History

Eastman believed that a brand name should have no dictionary definition so that it was associated with the product alone. He coined the term Kodak because he thought the word was easy to remember and difficult to misspell.

Photos: Courtesy George Eastman House

A junior bookkeeper innovated processes and equipment to simplify photography, introduced the concept of the "snapshot," and created a way for millions of consumer-photographers to document their lives and preserve memories.

Losses Early in Life
George Eastman was born on July 12, 1854, in Waterville, New York. He lost his father when he was eight, and was raised by his mother, Maria. His older sister, Katie, died of polio in 1870, while George was still a teenager. If anyone could capitalize on a tool like photography -- which could document loved ones' likenesses for all time -- it would be someone like Eastman.

Pupil and Inventor
Invented in the 1830s, photography was a well-established professional occupation by the 1870s, but it was not a hobby for the masses. It required a knowledge of chemistry, mastery of cumbersome equipment, and an interest in laborious wet-plate processes. Eastman, in his early twenties, became the pupil of two Rochester, New York, amateur photographers, George Monroe and George Selden. He experimented in dry-plate photography, and developed a formula for gelatin-based paper film and a machine for coating dry plates. He went into business selling dry plates in April 1880, and soon resigned from his bookkeeping position at a local bank to focus on his fledgling company.

Technical Advances
In 1885, with camera inventor William Hall Walker, Eastman patented the Eastman-Walker Roll Holder, which allowed photographers to advance multiple exposures of paper film through a camera, rather than handle individual single-shot plates. The roll holder would define the basic technology of cameras until the introduction of digital photography. It also became the basis for the first mass-produced Kodak camera, initially known as the "roll holder breast camera," which retailed for $25 and started a photography craze. The term "Kodak" was coined by Eastman himself in 1887. In 1889, Eastman hired chemist Henry Reichenbach, who developed a transparent, flexible film which could be cut into strips and inserted into cameras. Thomas Edison would order the film to use in the motion-picture camera he was developing -- and it would soon become the centerpiece of the Eastman empire.

Photography for the Masses
During the 1890s, Eastman expanded his business, buying patents and investing in research and development. Faster films and smaller cameras meant photography could produce more spontaneous pictures -- "snapshots." In 1900, he introduced the "Brownie" camera, which sold for $1 and was a bullseye in the mass market. Eastman's insight was that his chemists could do the "photo finishing," but anyone could take pictures with a simple camera like the Brownie. Eastman had hit on a memorable slogan: You press the button, we do the rest." His business grew rapidly, helped by jingles and ads positioning the brand as an essential tool for preserving memories. A 1902 ad lectured, "A vacation without a Kodak is a vacation wasted." A blizzard of profits enabled Eastman to build a 50-room mansion in Rochester.

Anos finais
Eastman continued to improve photography, introducing innovations including a process for color photography which he called Kodachrome. A generous philanthropist, Eastman gave away more than $100 million to charities, mostly in Rochester, during his lifetime. As he aged, he had increasing difficulty standing and walking. He could foresee living out his last years as his mother had, an incapacitated invalid. Facing the prospect of life in a wheelchair, he took his own life with an automatic pistol on March 14, 1932. His suicide note read, "To my friends. My work is done --, Why wait?"


Growth and new developments

Eastman expected that photography would soon become more popular, and in 1892 he established the Eastman Kodak

Daylight-loading film and cameras soon made it unnecessary to return the cameras to the factory. Eastman's old slogan changed to "You press the button, we do the rest, or you can do it yourself." A pocket Kodak was marketed in 1897, a folding Kodak in 1898, noncurling film in 1903, and color film in 1928. Eastman film was used in Thomas Edison's (1847�) motion pictures Edison's incandescent (glowing with intense heat) bulb was used by Eastman and by photographers specializing in "portraits (photographs of people) taken by electric light."

Eastman's staff worked on other scientific problems as well as on photographic improvements. During World War I (1914�) his laboratory helped build up America's chemical industry to the point where it no longer depended on Germany. Eventually America became the world leader.


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George Eastman

George Eastman was a renowned American inventor, businessman and founder of the Eastman Kodak company. He was born in 1854 in New York to George and Maria Eastman. His father died in 1862, when Eastman was 8 years old and one of his sisters died when he was 16. As a result, he felt the burden of responsibility and dropped out of school at an early age to begin working in order to support his mother financially. He was mostly self educated, and started off his career with odd jobs at insurance companies and banks.

At the age of 24, Eastman planned a trip to Santo Domingo when his colleague advised him to document the trip. The photography equipment however, was bulky and expensive. Eastman began to think of ways to make photography more manageable. He cancelled his trip, bought some photography equipment and began to research extensively on alternative methods of photography. He collaborated with amateur photographers and other inventors and by 1880, he had developed a gelatin based paper film. At this point he left his job and founded a small photography company. In 1885 he obtained a patent for a “roll holding device” that he had invented together with another inventor named William Hall Walker. Together the two of them had invented a much smaller and cheaper camera.

Eastman named his company “Kodak” (later changing it to “Eastman Kodak”) and launched the first Kodak camera in 1888. It was a compact box shaped device which could take 100 pictures and cost only $25. He coined the slogan “You press the button, we do the rest” in order to promote his products. His company also developed flexible film that could easily be inserted into cameras. This was a huge success and was even adapted by Thomas Edison for use in motion pictures. In the 1890’s the company suffered some financial setbacks due to the depression but recovered again by 1900 with the launch of the Brownie Camera for the price of $1 which was a huge success. Eastman also developed an unbreakable glass lens for use in gas masks and a special camera for taking pictures from planes, which was used in World War I.

Gerorge Eastman was never married, and had a close platonic friendship with his friend George Dickman’s wife named Josephine Dickman. He was very close to his mother and credited all his success and fortune to her as she had dedicated her entire life to helping him prosper. When Eastman’s mother died, he admitted to having cried for days at her loss. He established the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York and named the chamber music hall “Kilbourn Theatre” in her honor (Kilbourn was his mother’s maiden name).

Eastman was a great philanthropist and gave away huge chunks of his fortune to needy and deserving people. During his lifetime, he is thought to have given around $100 million to universities, hospitals, dental clinics and research facilities. He sometimes used the alias “Mr. Smith” when making donations as he never wished for publicity and fame. Some of the notable organizations he donated to were MIT, Rochester University and the Royal free Hospital. He established several charitable organizations of his own initiative such as Eastman Dental Clinics in London, Rome, Paris, Brussels and Stockholm.

In 1932, George Eastman committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart. The cause of this was a painful and degenerative spine disease which made it difficult for him to function normally. He left a suicide note which read “My work is done – why wait?”. Eastman’s legacy lives on and he will always be remembered and appreciated for his contribution to widespread commercial and personal photography. His net worth at the time of his death was US $95 million. After his death, his house in Rochester was converted into the “George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film“.


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